Welcome to this rather epic LOTRO Crafting Beginner’s Guide! Here I will give you the run-down to help newer players of The Lord of the Rings Online to get your head around how to craft items. I’ll also provide my opinions on what you may wish to choose as your first crafting profession. The choice is yours and will depend on what you want to achieve.
I am assuming players who need a beginner’s guide a relatively new to LOTRO, so I will do my best to explain things step-by-step. If you have any questions, please do feel free to contact me. I respond to tweets quite quickly, but emails may take me a day or so. Okay let’s get into it!
How to Use this Guide
Under here is a collapsable menu which links to key areas to help you navigate quickly. If you press one of these links, just hit back (on your browser or device) to be returned to this menu. Specific professions are detailed in parts 2 and 3 but are linked here.
Click/Tap to Skip to Section
- What is Crafting?
- What is the Crafting Process?
- Crafting Professions?
- Tracking Crafting Resources
- What are Crafting Recipes?
- Crafting Facilities
- Crafting Tools
- Proficiency and Mastery
- Crafting Professions
Crafting is the name given to the method by which you can make items for yourself, your other characters and other players. By “items” I mean: Armour, Jewellery, Weapons and consumables (like Trail Food, or Scrolls giving temporary stat increases). There are others, but I will address these in their specific situation.
You quickly encounter a quest called “Outfitting Yourself and Others” after leaving your starter zone around Level 7. This is a quest (well 3 quests) that introduce you to the basics.
For most professions, the crafting process can be roughly divided between
What this means is you need to first collect your materials.
You cannot instantly convert a bear hide into armour, or a chunk of rock into a shield. Your materials need some refining first.
Converting your processed materials into the items you want to make.
This does not apply to all of them, so bear with me!
A wee bit after you get out of your starter zone, you are presented with the choice of what you want your crafting profession to be. Here are the options provided along with their main purpose (many professions or vocations allow you to make other things later – such as crafting tools, homestead decorations, Rune-Keeper Chisels etc).
I have also suggested possible classes a profession is suitable for, based on the character crafting items for themselves.
- Explorer / Tailor: Fashions Light and Medium Armour
Appropriate for: Burgler, Hunter, Beorning, Lore-Master, Minstrel, Rune-Keeper, Captain and Warden
- Historian / Scholar: Creates Scrolls for buffs to combat and crafting, and dyes for cosmetic clothing.
Appropriate for: Any Class
- Armourer / Metalsmith: Fashions Heavy Armour and Shields
Appropriate for: Champion, Guardian, Warden (for Shields Only), Minstrel (for Light Shields), Captain
- Tinker / Jeweller: Fashions Jewellery from Metals and Gems to improve your character’s stats
Appropriate for: Any Class
- Armsman / Weaponsmith: Creates Weapons that are fashioned out of metal (e.g. swords, axes, daggers)
Appropriate for: Most classes, as even Minstrels can use a Mace. Correct me if I am wrong!
- Woodsman / Woodworker: Creates Weapons that are fashioned out of wood (e.g. Staves, Spears, Clubs, Javelins)
Appropriate for: Most classes, including Minstrel as you can craft clubs and, alter, Musical Instruments
- Yeoman / Farmer / Cook: Farms crops and makes Foods for temporary buffs
Appropriate for: Any Class
That depends! If your aim is to make stuff for your own characters you may make a different decision than if you want to use crafting to generate in-game silver and gold. As this is a beginner’s guide to LOTRO crafting, I’m going to assume you want to gear yourself – starting with your first character.
For new LOTRO players I would advise that you choose a profession that covers as many gear slots as possible. That means either crafting armour, or jewellery as these cover 7 gear slots each. This means, if you are free-to-play, or just have one or two characters, then by choosing one Tinker and one Armourer/Explorer, you can craft at least 14 items for 2 characters yourself.
↑ Guide Menu
Depending which crafting profession you choose how you gather the resources from the lands of Middle-Earth will vary.
- Metalsmith and Weaponsmith: Your key resource is deposits of metal. In the starter regions this will involve mining Copper Deposits for Copper Ore via the Prospecting gathering ability. Prospecting can also yield Brimstones (for Armourers) and Whetstones (for Weaponsmiths).
- Explorer: Although you can mine metals and turn them into ingots, you cannot use these yourself. Your main source of materials comes from defeating creatures of nature for their hides. In your early adventures in LOTRO, these can come from Hogs (“Splitertusks” for example), wolves and bears. Other creatures may also provide these. Although you can chop and fashion wood, the main thing to look for are Flax Fibres which come from chopping wood – and can fall from mobs. You can use Wood to advance your Forester skill but not your Tailoring skill.
- Tinker: as making Jewellery involves both metals and gems, you mainly gather from deposits of metals via Prospecting also. Gems may also be mined from these deposits. Keep an eye on pending loot as gems such as Agates can fall from humoids (living and undead). Prospecting can also yield materials helpful for Historians. In the early regions an example is “Copper Salts”.
- Historian: Gathering as a Historian/Scholar is trickier than for other professions. You are looking for artifacts (see “tracking resource” below) that you can research. These commonly occur around ruins or other buildings. Your fragments can also fall from humanoids (living and undead). If you have dye recipes then the plants you need are out in the landscape. Turn on “Track Crops” ability to give yourself a better chance at finding them!
- Woodsman: It won’t surprise you to learn that your main resource is wood! Your critical rating item (Resins) also comes from chopping wood.
- Yeoman: the art of cooking is combining your Farming Skill with Cooking. Although you can find small items via “Track Crops”, you can farm these much quicker. Keep an eye on Pending Loot, however, because some mobs drop verious herbs that can help you with critical farming/cooking (See: Mastering a Tier of Crafting).
Here are a few examples of gathering items in early regions to help you!
Depending on your chosen Crafting Profession you can track a variety of resources while questing. When a resource is tracked, icons appear in your minimap to show you where a gathering “node” is.
When you start a profession your tracking abilities are automatically added to your quickbars. Ensure these are always accessible!
Making things in LOTRO requires the use of recipes. It does not matter whether you’re making armour, weapons or food you will need to follow the recipe!
As you unlock different levels of your chosing crafting profession, you are given a set of recipes straight away. However these are not the only ones you can pick up. As you are questing you can obtain scrolls of crafting recipes in different ways:
- From Vendors often found in crafting areas. When you’re starting out look for “Apprentice” vendors.
- As loot from humanoid foes (e.g. Brigands, Goblins and Orc), including Wights (and possibly Shades but I need to check that)
- In lockboxes on the landscape
- As quest rewards, commonly from “Bounty” Quests: e.g. North East Bree-land or the Forsaken Inn (Lone-Lands).
- Some Reputation Vendors have recipes for sale, depending on your standing with a particular faction.
These scroll cases, when opened, will draw a random crafting recipe for the profession mentioned on the scroll case. These can be
- Single Use: once the item is crafted, it is removed from your available recipes
- Varations: One recipe but with different stat choices: e.g. you might get a recipe with a “Dwarf” option that focuses on Might, or an Elven option that focuses on Agility.
If you have more than one character you can mail recipes and scroll cases to your other characters so they benefit from your questing. Here is an example recipe for a Rowen Club (click/tap to enlarge).
↑ Guide Menu
In order to process materials and make items, you will need to find crafting facilities. Many are outdoors (such as Michel Delving in The Shire), but some can be found indoors – e.g.
- Thorin’s Hall
- The Crafting Hall of Bree
- Combe Crafting Hall
Finding Crafting Facilities
The easiest way to find facilities is to use your Map (‘M’ key). You can then clear all icons from the filter, apart from the little “anvil” icon, which shows you where you can process your materials and create your items.
- Forge: for turning metal ores into usable metals, or for making heavy armour or metal weapons
- Workbench: for turning hides into leather, making light/medium armours, whittling wood, making wooden weapon, or crafting jewellery
- Study: relevant for Historians for crafting Scholar-related items
- Farmland: for sowing and harvesting crops for use in cooking recipes
- Oven: for Cooking recipes
Right-clicking on a Crafting Facility (excluding Farmland, I believe) will bring up the Crafting Panel. To see your current recipes at any time press the T-Key to open it!
Your ability to gather materials and create items depends on equipping the correct tools. When you do the initial tutorial on crafting you will be given appropriate tools for your chosen profession – e.g.:
- Inferior Tailor’s Tools
- Inferior Prospector’s Tools
- Inferior Forester’s Axe
- Inferior Smithing Hammer
etc. When you are gathering you will need to equip the approrpriate tool for the job. If you try to right click a resource with the wrong tool, you’ll get an error message.
As in real life, the more you use a tool the more it wears out. If your tool gets too worn out you won’t be able to make, or gather anything that requires that tool. Get your tool repaired at any vendor who has the ‘Repair’ tab.
Your initial inferior tools wear out fairly quickly. However if you visit a crafting vendor (e.g. Novice Metalsmith) you can buy an upgraded tool for a few silver pieces. These last much longer, and mean you can ditch your inferior tools. Here, for example, is the non-inferor Smithing Hammer, available for 2 Silver. (Click/Tap to enlarge).
Most crafting professions will require to keep 2 or 3 tools in your bags as you will need to switch between them. However there are other options, where you only have to possess, and have equipped, one tool. The main sources are:
- Metalsmiths can produce profession-specific tools depending on your character’s level (with each tool giving stronger crafting advantages). If you are a Metalsmith, then the recipes for these drop from Scrollcases found in loot. You don’t get these recipes auto-given.
- Universal Toolkits can be purchased from the LOTRO Store and may drop from Hobbit Presents (non-VIPs get a daily free Silver Hobbit Present). According to the Wiki, they may also drop from Steel-bound Lootboxes.
Advantages of these toolkits are:
- They free up 2 bag spaces
- They save you having to remember to switch tools all the time!
- They increase the critical chance of crafted items (but not processing like making ingots or tanning hides)
- They decrease the time taken to harvest from gathering nodes in Middle Earth
- They last much longer before they wear out
Each tier of crafting (e.g. Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert) has two levels to complete: Proficiency and Mastery. As you begin to create items you earn Crafting XP which is separate to your character’s levelling XP. Initially you will need to do enough to reach Proficiency – which will ‘fill in’ the bronze-coloured anvil.
Once you reach Proficiency, two things happen:
- The next Tier unlocks, allowing you to begin earning crafting XP for that Tier.
- You can begin to work on Mastery (more details below).
Important Note: You cannot work on Mastery on a Tier unless you have completed Mastery on the previous Tier. For your actual ‘Making’ skill this is important. It is less important on ‘processing’ but suffice to say, you can still benefit on processing skills if you Master them.
Once you begin to Master a Tier of crafting you are able to work at producing Higher Quality Items (or more items). This is done through a Critical Chance “roll” every time you make something.
What is Critical Chance? A simple example is in the case of the Prosepecting ‘processing’ skill. Normally, 2 lumps of Copper Ore will melt down to make 1 Copper Ingot. When you are working at Mastering Apprentice Prospecting, you have a 5% Critical Chance of producing 2 more Copper Ingots for the same 2 lumps of Copper Ore. Essentially, each time you make an ingot a random numer (like a 100-sided die is being rolled). If that random number is, say 1-5 or 96-100 then you get your Critical Hit.
This is more important for your ‘making skill’, because a piece of armour, or a weapon, when you receive a Critical Hit, produces a much stronger item. Each making skill has a ‘base’ Critical Chance, but you can obtain items (e.g. Flaxes for Explorer, or Brimstone for Armourer) that increase your critical chance. On top of that, you can obtain better crafting tools (or a Universal Crafting Tool from the LOTRO Store or from Hobbit Presents) that also increase your critical chance.
TL;DR Crafting in LOTRO and Where to Go Next
There is quite a lot to take in when first looking at making your own items in The Lord of the Rings Online but I hope this begins to answer some of your questions!
In Part 2 we will be looking at Explorer, Metalsmith and Tinker Professions, to help you to gear yourself up with armour and jewellery!