At the time of writing this, LOTRO’s Before the Shadow expansion is near its launch date! There are various changes coming in at the same time so that players of all levels have new things to explore. But one of the biggest changes is right when you start a new character. If you own a copy of Before the Shadow, you can choose your tutorial and starter zone, regardless of your race! So in this short guide I’m going to show you how to start a new character in Before the Shadow and begin your adventures in Swanfleet. Let’s go!
As soon as you elect to start a new character, one of the most obvious UI changes is the Character Name box at the top. LOTRO have done a great job at making this look elegant, while also drawing the eye by using constrasting colours and a metal edge. The Randomize button is still there if you want automated character name suggestions. This is handy in case coming up with your own name is difficult.
How to Start in the New Area – Choose Your Tutorial!
As you can see, this area also has a shiny new button called Change Tutorial. This brings up the following box:
If you choose to run the tutorial quest/instances then the default is “Shadows of Angmar”. To new LOTRO players, this is the “base pack” that runs up to L50 Epic quest before Moria. These begin in various locations and depend on which race you have chosen.
As the UI box says, you can skip the tutorial, which does exactly that. You’ll then begin post-tutorial in the default zones based on your race. But skipping a tutorial isn’t why you’re here!
Start in Before the Shadow
Instead of the defaults, click the “Before the Shadow” button then complete your character’s appearance. Hit “Enter Middle-Earth” and let’s see what happens next!
As you can see, we’ve successfully avoided the defaults, and have arrived at the gate of Mossward. This apparently-sleepy town is in the area of Swanfleet, a new region added with Before the Shadow.
Here, you get a unique tutorial that covers various aspects of the game.
How to Start Before the Shadow on an Existing Character
If you just want to pick up the Epic and side quests on a character you already have, then just head to Mossward.Another player told me that the easiest route is Michel Delving → Mossward with the Stablemaster.
Enter Tegwyn! This is a spoiler-free zone, so I won’t go into how you meet Tegwyn. I love how the child is scripted though!
You are the Tutor
However, he plays a key role in the new LOTRO tutorial. What I really like is that SSG have made a tutorial that doesn’t treat you like a clueless, lumbering fool. Instead, your character is instructing Tegwyn on the basics of the adventuring life. So you take him to key locations.
The Blacksmith’s shop to show the importance of gearing up and repairing your gear.
In that shop, a side-line is about needing to earn coin to pay for gear and repairs.
The defeat circle outside of Mossward, so you understand what happens when you are defeated.
A training dummy to demonstrate the basics of your class’ fighting style.
So, while it is a starter guide for the player themselves, it doesn’t make you feel bad for not knowing the basics of a new game. And I like that a lot.
The last major change to the initial leveling experience and tutorial relates to mounts. It used to be an involved process, which is why I wrote How To Get Your First Horse in LOTRO. That post will be updated after Before the Shadow launches!
How to Get This Steed
Anyway, per the Update 34 (Beta 2) Patch Notes, you can get the new Little Extra Mount by completing the quest “A Little Extra Never Hurts — Part 2“. It’s a lovely grey horse, or pony, with a simple bridle. And, although it’s a “standard steed”, it’s based on newer LOTRO mounts models, so “feels” more real.
Unless you have at least Apprentice Riding, this steed gives a +32% movement speed.
Getting the Mount on Other Characters
The Patch Notes also say you can pick up this steed by bartering Mithril Coins at Archet, Celondim, Little Delving and Thorin’s Gates.
I updated my original LOTRO Before the Shadow post after see this tweet from @lotro. If you have purchased a copy of Before the Shadow, the release date is now the 15th November 2022.From what I’ve seen on Bullroarer so far, it will be worth the wait!
TL;DR Start A New Character in Before the Shadow to Experience It!
My initial impressions of Mossward and Swanfleet are that it is a beautiful region. The music here is sublime. So, once it launches, go and start a new character in Before the Shadow, experience the new tutorial and claim your mount. I’m very much looking forwwrd to digging deeper into the new regions. I hope you are too. Have fun in Middle-Earth!
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