1- You know what PvP is. **Note: I use the term PvP here, but in reality this type of PvP is called PvMP (player versus monster player).
2- You understand MMORPGs.
3- You at least know the basic classes of LOTRO.
How to Start
After installing the game, you begin to play a character up to level 10. Once you hit level 10, you will be able to access the “monster play” button from the start up screen.
Once you do this you will see that you have five character types you may play (and 5 creation slots to play with) . . . in fact creation of this monster player is very similar to character creation except for you don’t get to customize your “creep.” Creep is a term used to classify monster players (you know, things that creep along the ground or creep you out at night).
Once you choose your Warg (stealth fighter), Blackarrow (orc archer), Spider (crowd control fighter), Reaver (melee fighter), or Warleader (tankish healer) you give them a name and enter the world of the Ettenmoors. Bam . . . there you are standing in the start camp as a level 50 monster, ready to snack on both NPC good guys and PC good guys alike.
The Land of Ettenmoors
Ettenmoors is a land divided in two. The North western area is where the creeps make their base and the South eastern area is where the Freeps make their base. Freeps? Yeah, we’ll get into that in a second. Just know that the Freeps are the player controlled enemies who will kick your butt one-on-one. You'll need to group up with other Creeps to have a chance or be very sneaky about when you choose to engage a Freep (like when they're questing and don't think anyone is around, so they let themselves get to 50% life with 2 NPCs attacking them . . . we call this "ganking" shhhhhh).
The Ettenmoors is a zone that is inaccessible from the other areas of the LOTRO world. There are quests here like elsewhere in the LOTRO world and there are NPCs here like elsewhere as well. For the most part, the evil looking beings around the north west are amiable to creeps and the good looking beings (even the bears and falcons) to the southeast are amiable to freeps.
In the middle of the Ettenmoors are a number of forts and areas that creep and freep armies can fight to take over and improve. These have acronyms associated with them, some of which are as follows:
- DG (Darg-Gazag)
- EC (Elf Camp)
- GF (Gramsfoot)
- GV (Grams—Creep base)
- HH (Hoarhallow)
- IM (Isendeep Mine)
- LC (Grimwood Lumber Camp)
- Lug (Lugazag)
- Ost (Ost Ringdyr)
- SB (south bridge of TA)
- Stairs (South Coldfells—Freep base)
- TA (Tol Ascarnen)
- TR (Tirith Rhaw)
There are various quests located throughout Ettenmoors on both the Creep and Freep side. For example, the creeps have a quest to poison the river that runs through Ettenmoors and the freeps have a quest to cleanse the poison in the river. These quests are repeatable every couple of hours or so.
If you complete a quest on the Creep side, you gain money and destiny points. If you complete a quest on the Freep side, you gain money and a token. Destiny points can be spent to improve your Creep. Tokens can be turned in to open up chests with items in them.
So what about these Freeps I keep mentioning? Ohhhhh Freeps. Well, you know, once you level your main character to level 40, they can go to any stable master and ask for a ride to the Ettenmoors for a small fee. Once you select this, it quick travel teleports you to the Ettenmoors.
So, the benefit here is that you can earn experience in Ettenmoors for killing stuff (both NPCs and Creeps). The quests aren’t going to net you any experience, but the money and items you earn are “real.” Meaning, this is more than just a mini-game experience tied to LOTRO. It’s an extra component to the game where you can take your loot into the PvE world.
Also know this . . . you can earn titles as a Freep in Ettenmoors, and they will be visible in the rest of the LOTRO world.
Both Freeps and Creeps gain titles in front of their name as they gain renown/infamy for defeating foes in Ettenmoors. On the Creep side it goes a bit like this:
- Rank 0 (no title) 0-499
- Rank 1 (Tracker) 500-1499
- Rank 2 (Scout) 1500-3499
- Rank 3 (Skirmisher) 3500-7499
- Rank 4 (Fighter) 7500-19499
- Rank 5 (Soldier) 19500-44499
- Rank 6 (Sentry) 45000-94499
- Rank 7 (Chief Guard) 94500-194499
- Rank 8 (Chief Warrior) 195500-344,499
- Rank 9 (Taskmaster) 344,500-544,499
- Rank 10 (Luitenant) 544,500-844,499
- Rank 11 (Commander) 844,500-???
- Rank 12 (Chieften) ???
- Rank 13 (High Chieften) ???
- Rank 14 (Overlord) ???
- Rank 15 (Tyrant) ???
- Rank 0 (None) 0-499
- Rank 1 (Footman) 500-1499
- Rank 2 (Esquire) 1500-3499
- Rank 3 (Guardsman) 3500- 7499
- Rank 4 (Man-At-Arms) 7500-19499
- Rank 5 (Sergeant of the Guard) 19500-44499
- Rank 6 (Sergeant-at-Arms) 44500-94499
- Rank 7 (Master Guardsman) 94500-194499
- Rank 8 (Master-at-Arms) 195500-344,499
- Rank 9 (High Warden) 344,500-544,499
- Rank 10 (Lieutenant) 544,500-844,499
- Rank 11 (Commander) 844,500-???
- Rank 12 (Third Marshal) ???
- Rank 13 (Second Marshal) ???
- Rank 14 (First Marshal) ???
- Rank 15 (Captain-General) ???
Note that you can toggle this title on and off by simply checking a box in your titles section of your character window.
Titles don't end here though; we've only talked about the prefixes (which are unique to the LOTRO world). There are a number of suffix titles you can earn as well. For instance, if you kill 500 black-arrow Creeps, you can earn the title "Blackarrow foe." There are tons more of these suffix titles and I'll leave those for you to discover. An example creep suffix title would be "mistrel's foe." /shudder to think.
Of Trolls and Rangers
Now to make things more fun, the last expansion introduced a little fun benefit for the Creeps and Freeps: Trolls and Rangers. For the cost of 5,000 destiny points, you can assume a Troll form on the Creep side or a Ranger on the Freep side for about an hour (AFAIK).
As the article states, "If you complete a quest on the Creep side, you gain money and destiny points." This is the benefit of playing a Monster. You earn destiny points for your account.
If you die as a creep, it has no real impact on your regular characters. So don't worry about leveling one character to 10th level, starting a creep, dying, and worrying about whether that had an effect on your "no deaths" title on your regular character.
If you die as a freep, you don't incur the normally painful repair costs and 10 minute time out due to dread. This doesn't mean you won't incur repair costs "at all." Creeps beating on you will still cause damage to your armor. It just won't be as painful as when you are defeated in the PvE world.
When you do die, you pop up in a little safe circle nearby that is surrounded by ally NPCs that will one shot anyone who gets to close. This is a great spot to AFK. It's also a great spot to trick people into running into after you've damaged them a bit. /wink
When all banners around a keep are controlled by either the Freeps or Creeps, there is an effect given to the defenders or invaders. The effects of holding all hot spots surrounding a keep could be that any invader nearing the keep will gain a debuff (like an annoying disease damage over time debuff) or that NPCs will help invaders by swarming the keep kamakazi style.
You will hear groups or raids sometimes saying they would like to "flip" or "protect" the hotspot around a keep. Flipping a hotspot means that your fellowship must stand and not move an inch at the base of the banner anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
More to come
Stay tuned . . . I hope to add and refine this post as time goes by, but hopefully this has slightly demystified the basics of PvP play in the LOTRO world.