A Little Skirmish Will Do You Good

July 22, 2010

Sigh, will I ever get to Moria? I know I make progress in Lord of the Rings Online every time I log in, but I think I’ve only managed to gain a couple levels in the last few weeks. Granted, I have been pretty busy with real life, but I try my best to give this game the attention it deserves. I find that two to three hours every other day isn’t really enough to make any real advancement though, especially since so much of that time is given over to in-game traveling. Those lazy and inconsiderate quest givers sure make you run around a lot.

Hiding behind Candaith. The torches have gone out and my warrior is probably off somewhere, busy lying in a pool of his own blood.

So this week, I finally caved in to the temptation of quick XP and participated in my very first skirmish, solo. It was a bit rough (okay, really rough), especially since my tenderfoot Warrior soldier was about as useful as a one-armed juggler. But it was worth it because, damn, people weren’t kidding about the XP gain. In about 20-30 minutes (not counting the first couple of failed attempts as I bumbled around trying to find my groove), I managed to rake in enough experience to get me almost a quarter of the way through a level. It almost feels criminal.

I’ve seen this system likened to the World of Warcraft dungeon finder, but it also reminds me of the daily villa quests I used to do in Age of Conan while I was leveling up. These were up to five solo instances in the noble district I could do each day to supplement my XP gain from regular quests, and I usually did them when I was a level or two shy of moving on to the next zone, or when I couldn’t find people to do my group quests. In my opinion, the skirmish dailies in LOTRO are better designed and are much more relevant to the story, but I can see myself doing them for very much the same reasons.

I think I’ve found the answer. If I wanted to, I think I could take the average of 1-1.5 hours that I spend in LOTRO each day, use them to do daily skirmishes, and I’d skyrocket up the ranks in no time…but then I would also be missing a lot from the rest of the game. Since this is the first character I’ve ever played in LOTRO, I don’t want to rely on skirmishes too much, but it’s so nice to know that they are there.


  1. Skirmishes are a mixed blessing. You do not get many at your rather low level, they are mostly to be found at the level cap. Especially the more interesting ones.

    They can become quickly repetitive, and the deed system is really filled to the brink with all kinds of skirmish related grind deeds. They are also a major source to get the legendary upgrade scrolls for your legendary items.

    As you noticed, LOTRO’s strength is actually the WORLD. The instant instance beam is for sure a great convenience, as is the scaling mechanic.

    But I fear that LOTRO will give up its greatest strength, the fantastic landscapes, if it focuses too much on canned, instanced content that can be sold in chunks to customers once it goes free 2 play.

    And if people would like to run instances over and over… I cannot help, in that case I would rather recommend them WoW, and you know I really never do that. xD

    • Yeah, it didn’t occur to me how it might play out once LOTRO goes F2P. I don’t like the idea of developer effort going into skirmishes to be sold off piecemeal when they can be developing the rest of the game world instead, but it’s in the realm of possibility and you’re right to be worried.

      I don’t know what I think about skirmishes yet, beyond the fact I’m glad they’re there as an alternative. I’ve only done a couple, but even though there will be more as I level I can see them becoming repetitive if I do them a lot.

  2. I’m the exact same way. They’re actually nice but I barely do them so I get to experience the world. I do not regret if for a single second.

    • I think they’re great if I know I’ll only have an hour or so to play that day. Questing and exploring for me are best left for longer play sessions when I can fully enjoy them 😀

  3. Skirmishes are wonderful.

    For us crafters! We use all the space in our bags and our house, and the bank, for crafting components. To skirmish I just need space to collect a few tokens. And I can skirmish in my crafting hall. No travel involved.

    The skirmishes are lore. They are probably the only time we will see the battle of Bree or the Shire. The are part of the story. I’m doing important stuff in the skirmishes, saving Bree, the Shire, even Rivendell.

    I probably see more of the world, more often, than most players when I gather supplies. It is a beautiful place and I made sure I did as many quests as I could on my first character.

    But the only reason I kill 16 bears is for their hides.

    • That’s one thing I appreciate a lot about the skirmishes — the fact they are so important to the lore. Turbine could have just thrown any old system in for people to grind instances but the fact they decided to put the time into making all the skirmishes relevant to the lore speaks volumes about them. At least I feel like I’m participating in something important to the overall story, and not just doing some side quest that’s just thrown in there to take up space.

      • Very much agree with you, GC, on this. The lore/story tied to the skirmishes was one of my favorite parts. Of course, I’ve not run any one skirimish enough to get sick of it yet.

      • I’ll probably end up feeling much like you, Blue Kae. I don’t plan on pushing myself to do any one skirmish (or skirmishes in general, for that matter).

  4. Personally I’m not a big fan of skirmishes for any reason… just my opinion. They started out being a lot of fun, but like Longasc said they get very repetative, very quickly.

    I still think quests are a more enjoyable way to gain levels. If you know where to go you can really speed up the process and still experience more of the content (check out my leveling guide – it won’t give anything away but will keep you from wasting time running around). It’s probably the best way to get the most out of your small window of game time.

    Happy Leveling!

    • They’ve been fun so far for me, but hey, I’m new 😀 Only a few have been opened up to me so far, so there’s more to keep me busy as I level up it seems. Like I said though, I’m not going to rely on them too much; I can see them being nice to do if I don’t have a lot of time to play that day, or if I need just a bit more experience to advance to the next zone, etc. I’m hoping I won’t do them so much to the point I’ll get tired of them.

      And I’ve checked out your leveling guide and have been using it for a bit. Thanks, it’s very helpful!

      • It sounds like you’re doing them the right way 🙂 I doubt you’ll get too sick of them the way you’re currently playing. And as Miketoe, Blue Kae, and you touched on – the lore aspect is a very cool part of them.

        To qualify my dislike of skirms, I was grinding skirms constantly for a while (sort of like Sammath Gul) to get scrolls and improve my gear… totally ruined them for me! That’s what getting caught up in the gear race gets ya 😉

    • Anything stops being fun if that’s all you do. Mixing a skirmishes in with quests and exploration means that there’s always something to do.

      • Agreed… if I were being forced to be honest I suppose that it was my play style that made skirmishes no fun :p

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