Playing LOTRO Solo

8 Reasons Why I Play LOTRO Solo | Why Play MMOs on Your Own?

Playing LOTRO solo has been my approach to the game for as long as I’ve been adventuring in SSG’s rendition of Middle-Earth. By that I mean that most of my questing time in The Lord of the Rings Online has been on my own. In the past, I have attended social events; not just official festivals but player-organised ones too. But in terms of official content, it’s soloable stuff I’ve done. LOTRO is an MMO, so why would I play a huge, multiplayer game alone?

What Sparked this Off

Distractability and the natural overflow of information that is the Internet led me to stumble on a Reddit thread. The TL;DR of the thread-starter was they played the game slowly and solo, doing all the things they could and not focusing on reaching the end game. They wondered if they were the only person playing like that.

Seems like everyone is focused on reaching end game, and preferably asap. Well… I’m the exact opposite. I’ve been on LOTRO 7 years now, and my toon in “only” level 121.

What’s particularly strange is that it’s about the same length as my journey and they’re exactly my main character’s level. I’ll talk about that thread more a bit later, but first I want to go into possible downsides of gaming on my own, and answer why I play LOTRO solo.

The Downsides of Playing LOTRO Solo

Being not exactly impartial on this subject I found it difficult to answer this. But I’ve at least managed three possible reasons why being on your own in an MMO might not be so great.

Community Detachment

One of the biggest aspects of all the three MMOs I’ve played is the community of players. Game studios provide the content, platform and the rules, but it’s the players that determine the atmosphere. Being detached from this means you could miss out on feeling a part of the life of the game.

Harder to Get Help

Being in an MMO with friends – either ones you already know, or ones you have gained by playing – means you can get and receive help easily. If you only play on your own, then getting help may be harder. If you’re an introvert like me, then you may feel uncomfortable asking others for help too.

This can lead to frustration, or simply avoiding content that you might actually enjoy.

Some Content Requires Groups

LOTRO is a game for many people all of the time. It’s the definition of “MMO” (Massively Multiplayer Online). That means there will always be – and should be – group content. Such quests, instances and raids should be regularly worked on and new ones introduced as well.

MMOs often have a “raiding community”, where that is the focus. I sometimes see “ads” for Kins that say they want members who are interested in end-game and raid content.

In short, you may miss some epic LOTRO content by avoiding such fellowship instances.

Mitigating the Downsides

There are ways around these negative outcomes without feeling obliged to be with players, or in a LOTRO Kin.
  • Community:
    You can at least read (or join in, if you want), discussions on the forumsExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab), or follow hashtags like #LOTRO on TwitterExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab).
  • Getting Help:
    Again, you have the forums, finding other players on Social Media and also *gasp* asking on World Chat!
  • Group Content:
    This kind of depends which content you’re talking. Some Fellowship instances can be solo’d one you are well over-levelled. Not all of them, due to mechanics, though. Again, use World Chat, or ideally the /LFF channel. Do your instances, then go back to your solo content afterwards.

Much of this depends on your own perspectives and priorities.

I would add here that these disadvantages could be the very things some people may like about being alone in an MMO.

If you have a very sociable job, being detached from communities and group content may help you recharge, for example. And if you’re playing a game as “brain down-time” then not engaging in Fellowship instances that require knowledge of certain mechanics or other complexities may help you relax more.

Why I Play LOTRO Solo

So, having dealt with this in “broad strokes”, why in Middle-Earth would I play LOTRO Solo?

1. I Can

I can play LOTRO Solo - so I do! Simple.

Before my time certain quests in the Epic had to be grouped up to complete. But those can be solo’d now – either because LOTRO has changed how the quest works or through special items (Elf-StonesExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)). That means I can enjoy the game my way – and you can enjoy it your way.

2. I Like the Game

LOTRO is a game I love playing. It just happens to be an MMO.

The question of “why play an MMO Solo” assumes that solo players should play 1-player games. I like playing The Lord of the Rings Online and the beauty of the Middle-Earth SSG have created. I like new content coming out that gives my characters longevity.

I like the other aspects of an MMO you wouldn’t get in a solo game; events, a detailed wardrobe/outfit system among other things. I like that it’s constantly being worked on by SSG – that I don’t need to buy a LOTRO 2, 3 or 4 to see graphical improvements.

3. Group Content is Only a Part

There is plenty of fellowship content (see RaidsExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) on the Wiki, for example). But in terms of the core story, you don’t miss out on much that’s critical by not doing group content.

There are also tons of other things to do: Your own Epic quest journey, Crafting, Exploring, Deeds, Reputations, Mount-collecting, Festivals and Events, Community-created events, Role-playing, trying out all the classes, designing your outfits and designing your War-Steed’s outfits. In my case, I occasionally duo-quest. There are literally too many things to do in the world – you cannot do them all. It’s like real life and the famous quote from Gandalf the Grey.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

4. Escapism

LOTRO allows escapism into another world and its stories - and the characters I create within them.

Whether it’s from a stressful real-life event, the noise of your job (if you’re fortunate enough to have one of those) or getting some “own time” before bed, escaping to Middle-Earth is therapeutic. I use the game to distract me from my Fibromyalgia symptoms. I’m also an introvert so prefer alone time. I like playing LOTRO without the requirement to chat to people, or get drawn into which aspect of the game they’re playing.

4. My Own Agenda – or No Agenda!

A random humorous moment in the build-up to the dwarves entering the Mines of Moria.

Outside of writing my blog posts, gaming on my own means I, more or less, choose what I feel like doing then do that. Sometimes I blitz some reputations to get items, or I might clear some deeds. Other times I will progress the main storuy and do nearby side-quests.

I don’t need to feel drawn into what other people want to do in the game. This is why I will continue to decline “cold call” Fellowship invites. I’m not sorry for that, either.

5. Endgame is only Part of the Game

Compared to the wealth of content, geography, quests and characters, Endgame is a small part of LOTRO.

To this day, I don’t know why newer player Valar up (called “Level Boosting” in other MMOs). Even to Level 50. I understand if you’ve been playing many years and have cleared Shadows of Angmar 200 times, that you may not want to do it for a 201st time.

If you’re newish to LOTRO, at least play (and level) through the main story (the “Epic”). You miss out on a lot by skipping it. You haven’t “beaten the game” when you hit L140 (the current cap). Chances are, there are areas you haven’t seen, stories you’ve missed and achievements you haven’t done.

6. No Rush to Level

There is no rush to level if you play MMO Solo. Set your own agenda! Or... don't have one.

The opening poster of the Reddit thread I mentioned said: “To me, it’s about the journey.” And I think the keywords here are actually “to me“.

Some people speed to their desired level for whatever reason, some like to watch the views on the way and take their time. Neither is better, so long as those doing the journeys are content with the outcome.

7. No Need to Prove I’m Active

I don’t have to log a particular character X times a month to be considered “active”.

Kins don’t want their rosters filled with inactive players. That’s right and proper. But being in one can sometimes make it feel like you “should” play a particular character, or you have to remember to log them all in if you have multiple.

Not being in one can sometimes feel freeing. Being in a kin, or not being in one, is just a simple choice as with everything else in life. Go find one that suits you if you would like to be in one. And don’t, if you, well, don’t.

8. I Blog About LOTRO

Genuinely, this is a reason for me to do my questing alone. I write about The Lord of the Rings Online, I update guides and I build outfits/mounts and pets databases. These are done for the community. Although I will share a snippet on Social Media (e.g. TwitterExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab), FacebookExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) and MastodonExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)), questing time is predominantly for me.

Maybe if I was still a streamer or a real YouTuber, grouping up would provide engaging content. With my chronic pain and fatigue, along with being an introvert, social time is draining. So I mostly stick to written content. With a lot of what little focus I have being on what blog posts or guides you folks might find useful, I need my own headspace.

It’s also why I play two MMOs. But this post is exclusively about LOTRO, so I’ll stick to that!

Blogging about the game means playing LOTRO Solo gives me the own time I need.

What Other Players Said

Let’s have a look at the reasons or feedback other players gave in the Reddit threadExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) I mentioned at the start.

A.F.: There is another kinship on Evernight called Slowtro who actively encourage slow leveling and actually sit at certain level caps to complete all content “on level” and not overleveled. Its noble and great thing to do.

glorfindel92: Just playing it as a solo game and loving it. I like seeing other people run past or doing the same stuff as me but I just trot on by myself.

Baroness_Soolas: I prefer multiplayer games despite never grouping, because it gives me company at a distance.

SilverCosmic: I just got to level 100 and I’ve been playing solo the entire time. I have bad social anxiety so I avoid people at all costs haha.

out_of_exile23: It’s enjoyable to me because I can play at my own pace.

ReflectionAcrobatic4: I did my time of “everyone online at 2000 for xyz raid” in another game and yeah I guess I’m missing out on stuff but there’s more than one way to enjoy a game.

jyank: I never feel like “I have to play this I am paying for it monthly” because I know even if I do VIP, I can pause it and I can always just jump back in F2P for a bit to get back into it, which I appreciate.

Zenobiya: I took about 6 years to get to level cap which was 100 or so at the time. I spend more time exploring than I do leveling up. This game is perfect for a fan of the books.

MischeifCat: LotRO has become one of the most relaxing MMOs there is. You can just experience Middle Earth at your own pace. The atmosphere of the zones is always good and fits the story being told. It’s a sanctuary from the games that really push that gear treadmill and the “endgame is the only game” mentality. The festivals, the people playing music concerts, housing, just riding around the landscape appreciating Middle Earth.


My LOTRO Hobbit Shrugs

The Reddit thread did have a couple of misconceptions I want to briefly address. One is from the OP, the other from a reply.

1. “Seems like everyone is focused on reaching end game, and preferably asap”
While this is true for some people, it definitely isn’t “everyone”.

Some people prefer raiding – which often means “endgame raids”.

Some people enjoy, or get a sense of satisfaction from playing for 3 hours to gain a slightly stronger piece of armour. And that’s fine for them, but again, that’s not everyone.

2. Content Creators Don’t Write About Solo Content
The main issue here is around the term “content creators”. I’ve seen the term banded around and it often means “Streamers” or “Video Creators”. I would say I am a content creator, mostly because I, well, create content. I’m not as engaging as a video, nor have the social “juice” to stream.

But it must be said that the other kind of creator does make solo-focussed content. Louey7, a popular and well-respected LOTRO video creator has one called The Best Solo ClassExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) (88k views as of this post) and Levelling and Beginner GuideExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) (21k views as of this post).

Play Your Way

I think the beauty of an MMO like LOTRO is there is no one way of playing it. There are so many features and aspects that you’re essentially “forced” to limit your options. In all of that, you can either play loads of group content, tons of solo content or anywhere in between and it’s fine.

I Don’t Play LOTRO Solo, Not Really

I think how you play a game is determined by your definition of “play”. And, in my case, my definition of “solo”. While my questing is solo, I’m not alone.


Etiquette at the event, please be nice to other LOTRO players
It is nearly impossible to take part in Festivals in the LOTRO Events Schedule and do them truly alone. Even if you waited until the last day of a festival, you’re unlikely to be the only person doing it.

While you may not be “with” those people, you’re engaging in the same aspect of LOTRO at that time. You’re playing alongside other people. The game would soon feel empty if you weren’t.

World Chat is Always There

Well, unless you remove the filter from all of your chat tabs, anyway! And even then you can always switch it back on. I can unplug, or plug into, World Chat whenever I feel like it.

Sometimes I “lurk” there. I see people asking for help with quests, pointers on features, announcing a return to the game, asking for the latest freebie code, and other things on WC.

If you don’t want to be in an exclusive Kin, World Chat can just be a giant kin that you dip in and out of as you please.

I Share on Social Media

Simply sharing your LOTRO journey with others is like them having joined you, even if it's only for a small part of it.

The social community of LOTRO isn’t only inside the game. I’d argue that most of it is organised or sustained outside the game.

Keeping in touch with friends via the forums or social media helps me to feel part of LOTRO on days I can’t play – or don’t feel like it.

And sharing my journeys in Middle-Earth means, while my characters may often adventure alone, I do not.

Not All Kins Set Requirements

While most kins will want a minimum amount of logins (e.g. once a month or something), some kins may have few requirements apart from that.

So, you can be part of a kin without doing group content, or even socialising much.

Obviously, choose your kin carefully as some recruit on the basis of wanting to raid. But many I see advertised are about giving you help if you need it and letting you play your way.

LOTRO is Built for the Solo Player

Yondershire was a region introduced by SSG purely focussed on playing LOTRO Solo

Last year, SSG said words to the effect of “we’re working on a new raid as we realised we’d dropped the ball on that one”. Over the last couple of years, LOTRO has seen new regions added, housing neighbourhoods, festival rewards, landscape difficulty scaling and much more. All of that either is, or can be, solo’d.

Arguably, most of the last couple of years has been landscape and solo-friendly content.

Regions Introduced in Recent Years

These are the lower-level regions they’ve brought out. I’ve focussed on these as they are mostly, or a great deal, about Solo content, by virtue of being for lower levels.

Living in Middle-Earth

I heard in a video (which I have, naturally, forgotten the URL to) about “living in LOTRO”. There are references to this in the Reddit thread too. While I don’t live in an MMO (but do spend tons of time in them), my characters are “alive”. They have character, they have preferences, wishes, goals and aims. It’s my approach that sparks LOTRO FanFiction episodes and duoquesting.

Just let them live life. Whatever that means to you.

Mind Your Rut

You don’t have to do anything while in an MMO, least of all in The Lord of the Rings Online. You can just be. Go gathering and exploring. Take up crafting for levelling, go to festivals, decorate a home (and make some of the decorations yourself). You don’t have to level. You don’t even have to progress through content.

Live the Fantasy Life You Want

Just let yourself live there. And if that means taking a huge player-team into the deepest pits of Mordor, then go for it. If it means taking three hours to tidy your vault and wardrobe, then why not. It’s all valuable rest time to enjoy in-game.

Offline life is complicated enough already. Be at peace with how you play LOTRO. If you’re not happy with how you spend your time in Middle-Earth, then play a different aspect for a while. You’re not short of choices!

Caethir and Glinmaethor - Duoquesting / Dualboxing in LOTRO

Choose Your Rut

I remember a friend used to use an illustration in talks he gave. Somewhere in Africa he came across a sign by a less-than-even dirt track that said “Choose your rut with care”.

As with driving, our “ruts” determine how we spend our time. Make sure yours is one you enjoy, not endure.

Be Uncomplicated

NJ's LOTRO Character just Relaxing at a camp in Evendim.
My nearly 7-year-old is fabulous at this when she plays The Lord of the Rings Online. As LOTRO has an age rating, obviously I’m with her and steer her away from certain imagery she shouldn’t see.

But she does what she feels like, and goes where she wants to. At least, where I tell her it’s level-appropriate anyway!

She sometimes does a quest or two. She might defeat some enemies. Or she might just go diving, swimming and exploring. And she’s reached Level 34 doing it that way.

She’s always happy when the wonderful, snowy-tree levelling up animation happens too. It doesn’t matter how you get there, so long as you’re at peace with the journey.

TL;DR Summarising Why I Love to Play LOTRO Solo

I know this was a long discussion, but I didn’t just want to give you a few reasons and be done with it. I’m not telling anyone to play LOTRO alone. I’m simply sharing why I personally do.

  • It’s a solo-friendly game with tons of content and features I can enjoy at my own pace.
  • The community is there and I can attend events they hold, or not, and I don’t feel any less valued.
  • My Solo-focus does not hinder other players’ end-game focus, nor vice-versa.
  • I love just being in Middle-Earth. Sure, I like rewards, new cosmetic outfits and weapons – and I can never have enough mounts or war-steed cosmetics. But the tangible “rewards” are not the reasons I continue to play and subscribe. The game is.

The important thing to remember is LOTRO is a game. Games are meant to be played – and therefore enjoyed. If you enjoy group content, go do that. If you love fishing without falling asleep – go do that. Want to play LOTRO solo and jump into a lake because you can? No problem. Live in Middle-Earth. Experience it. As with real life, success comes in various forms so do what you value and let others play their way too.

About the Author

Fibro Jedi
Fibro Jedi

I have been playing MMOs for about ten years and began writing guides to The Lord of the Rings Online in 2017. I've only been creating content about Final Fantasy XIV since 2022, but I am glad for the mix. My current games include LOTRO, FFXIV and the occasional Palia session too.

LOTRO Posts | FFXIV Posts | Please support me on Ko-Fi Donate Coffee | Author Page

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