The Lord of the Rings Online

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The Shire

The Lord of the Rings Online (aka LotRO) is yet another MMO on the market. While nowhere near as popular as World of Warcraft, it has a healthy player base that has grown since their recent expansion. Often compared against World of Warcraft (and which MMO isn't, these days) it holds up well enough. Its emphasis is less on PVP and Raiding and more on Roleplaying, Crafting, and Socializing (though PVP and Raid elements are present and Raiding is an important part of the game). With a low emphasis on PVP and a high emphasis on RP and social aspects, LotRO has managed to attract one of the nicer and more mature MMO communities around.

Set in Tolkien's Middle-earth, this game is based entirely on the books; as such, it has a rich lore from which to draw quests, locations and scenarios. The game's storyline roughly follows the books; however, while the story follows the movements of the Fellowship, what it really focuses on is what everyone else is doing. As a player, you adventure and aid not only the Fellowship, but also the residents of Middle-earth as they prepare for battle against Sauron.

Currently the story is very near the end of the first book as the player character follows the trail of the Fellowship down the Anduin river, led there by mysterious dreams. After the events of the Isengard-storyline, the breaking of the Fellowship is imminent, and players will finally enter the timeframe of The Two Towers when the Riders of Rohan expansion is released this fall.

Beginning life as Middle-earth Online in 1998, the license to develop the game bounced through several developers (including Vivendi Games) before landing with Turbine in 2004. The game launched in 2007, with the smoothest MMO launch in history. The game boasts several semi-unique features, such as the Music system, which allows players to form bands and play music in-game, either by playing manually, or by playing .abc files via in-game commands. The Outfit system also allows for much more character customization than some rivals allow.

An arguably inventive (or frustrating) stroke is in the character classes. While basic party roles and jobs are still used, the class that handles that role is usually not the traditional one to do it (though they all do make sense when you think about it.) Many classes have parallels to characters in the book, though certainly not all. A basic class breakdown is as follows:

The Guardian: Primary tank, originally the only real tanking class in the game, now supplemented by the Warden. Heavy armor, shields, etc. You've seen this guy since D&D. However it should be noted that unlike most tanking classes until recently, Guardians are capable of inflicting decent damage and can level solo pretty easily. Cannot use any ranged weapons until level 30. Boromir (in function) would be a Guardian (though the Boromir character in the game is referred to as a Captain.)

The Warden: A tactical tanking class that wears only leather armor and favors spears over heavier melee weapons. In contrast to Guardians that represent elite trained heavy infantry characters, Wardens are the plucky militia-type characters from the rest of the free-peoples. Guardians absorb damage through heavy armor and shields whereas a Warden uses skill and ability combinations, called Gambits, to cast short-term effects ranging from increased health regeneration, increased block/parry chances, or damage-over-time (DoT) attacks. Their ranged abilities with javelins make them ideal for kiting encounters, too. This caused them to be more popular than the Guardian in end-game raiding for a while. You can find more information here. No major character from the books would be considered a Warden, although it draws inspiration from the marchwarden Haldir.

The Minstrel: The primary healer. The game uses morale points instead of HP (you don't die, you just get demoralized and must retreat from battle) and the Minstrel is the one to cheer you back up. Their music attacks, heals, and offers their party quite a few buffs. This versatility lets them level solo with some ease. The minstrel has been largely revamped with the Rise of Isengard expansion, with simplifed attack patterns and much stronger self-healing while in War-Speech mode. The class draws inspiration from Luthien Tinuviel from The Silmarillion.

The Hunter: Many refugees from WoW see Warcraft's mage in this class, and it certainly has parallels. Based on the Rangers from the books (and Legolas, naturally), the Hunter is a ranged Nuker who can guide his party swiftly to many locations (read: teleport them). Does not employ pets, but uses traps and can deal decent melee damage via dual-wielding should they have to. And yes, every variant of Legolas is already taken. Don't try.

The Burglar: LotRO's rogue, the Burglar is more of a Debuffer/CC class than the average rogue archtype. Their debuffs make them a good asset for raid groups and decent in PVP, especially as they can start Fellowship Maneuvers (party-based combo attacks,) better than anyone else. While a Burglar has many stealth abilities, and a few "backstabs," unlike many other MMOs, they're not assassins and have relatively weak DPS (compared to the Hunter or Champion.) Can dual-wield, but have few ranged abilities apart from the ability to stun an opponent, and a hobbit burglar's stone-throwing skill. Bilbo from The Hobbit is the prototypical Burglar.

The Captain: The Captain is the jack-of-all-trades with an emphasis on buffs. The Captain wears heavy armor and can use almost any melee weapon and light shields (no ranged weapons though) and has a few tanking, healing, and mezzing abilities. However the real strength comes from focused and party-wide buffs. The Captain's herald or banner grant aura bonuses (stat, morale, or power boost) that effect the whole party. They also have many shouts and battle-cries that heal or give temporary combat bonuses, again to the whole party. The Captain doesn't replace any role, he just makes everyone else do their job better. Only available to the Race of Men. Aragorn in battle would be a Captain.

The Champion: The Dual-Wielding warrior (but can use two-handed weapons as well). Their true specialty is their damage, which is AOE melee. Their AOE abilities made them a very popular class, and they're one of the easier classes to pick up and play. Think Gimli here.

The Lore-Master: The Beast Master. While other MMO converts might first think this is simply the 'mage' of the game, the Lore-Master is also a pet class. The role of the Lore-Master is one of CC and Debuffers, but their damage is nothing to be sniffed at, either. Their pets (which, unlike the Captain's, are actual animals such as ravens or bears) are useful in all kinds of situations. Many would compare Gandalf to the Lore-Master, but Elrond would be a better example.

The Rune-Keeper: The most debated class, as it is a clear break with Tolkien's lore (to which the game is otherwise generally faithful). The Rune-Keeper is a DPS/Healer hybrid that deals very powerful AOE and single target damage and also is a good healer (healing via HOTs). A sliding meter prevents both from happening at the same time (the more offensive skills you use, the stronger your damage spells become while healing ones become weaker, and vice-versa, though it resets to neutral out of combat.) Currently one of the more overpowered classes, but quite fun. Only available to Elves and Dwarves. This class was inspired by the Elven rune-smith Celebrimbor, the one who forged many of the Rings of Power.

The Races are the races of the Free Peoples; Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and Men. They have some class restrictions (mostly seen with the Captain and Rune-Keeper) and each race gets their own special attack as well as unique Deeds and Traits.

It should be noted that LotRO follows the storyline of the books, so it contains most of the tropes from the books as well. The following lists only the tropes that apply to the game itself. For the full list of tropes for the storyline, see The Lord of the Rings.

Tropes used in The Lord of the Rings Online include:
  • Acceptable Breaks From Reality: Characters never need to rest or sleep, and eating is for the purposes of stat boosts or health and power regneration. Despite the fact that there is a day and night cycle, most characters and NPCs don't sleep, they just continue with the usual routine.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Technically you're a member of the other forces of the Free People mentioned briefly in the books, but otherwise, it's this trope to a T.
  • Alt-Itis: Can get very tiring as well, since there's only two starting areas. (Dwarves/Elves, Hobbits/Men)
    • At least now it is possible to skip the tutorial and get straight to the introductory zone (Archet for hobbits and men, Thorin's Hall area for dwarves and elves).
  • All Trolls Are Different: They turn to stone during the daytime (which is why low level characters shouldn't be in the Trollshaws at night) and are always Signature or above.
    • The game is inconsistent on trolls turning to stone in daylight. There are a few places where trolls hang around in overcast conditions or in very shady areas, so the fact that they're active in the daytime can be Handwaved away. However, when a troll is walking around in broad daylight in the Limlight Gorge, there's a problem. To be sure, the Rohirrim keeping watch over the gorge mention that it's been overcast lately, and the trolls won't stray far from their caves and thus stay away from Stangard, but can it really be cloudy all the time?
      • Trolls which can withstand sunlight are often stated in the game to be Olog-hai, which are in fact fully capable of doing so.
  • All Webbed Up: Most giant spider web sacs seen in the game are purely decorative. However, one quest in the Scuttledells has the player freeing elvish scouts who have been poisoned and encased in webbing by the local giant spiders. At other points in the game players can sometimes open up web sacs containing money and items.
  • Allegedly Free Game: It's technically free-to-play, but so much of the content requires Turbine points (which you buy with real money) that you're probably going to end up paying. Can be averted through hard work, though, since doing deeds also gives you Turbine points.
  • Anti-Poopsocking: Rested XP exists in this game as well; it's actually better than World of Warcraft in this respect (though Your Mileage May Vary), since you gain it no matter where you are, and you can use Destiny Points (earned via leveling and questing, and shared across characters) and Turbine Points to purchase more. You also gain it faster than WoW.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The Hunter's Piercing Shot, which bypasses some of the opponent's armour mitigation. The Lore-master has a debuff, Ancient Craft, which reduces an opponent's armor value by a significant margin.
  • Arrows on Fire: Both seen being used by NPCs, and can be used by Hunters via an item.
  • Ascended Extra: Thanks to the game focusing on what everyone else was doing, instead of the Fellowship, this trope comes up a lot. If a character was named in the books (or at least the first book, currently), there's a big chance they exist in the game, and are involved in at least one questline.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Fellowship Maneuvers, where every member of a group gets to choose one of four effects (damage, damage over time, healing, power restoring), that combined make up a coordinated attack. If players sucessfully mixes effects in specific orders, instead of all choosing the same effect, the attack ends up more powerful, and may also have other benefits like summoning a oathbreaker to help out in the fight.
  • Back Stab: The Burglar specializes in sneaking up behind enemies and attacking them from stealth mode. The lore-master's pet lynx also performs a stealth attack.
  • Badass Bookworm: Lore-Masters don't actually perform magic, but use their knowledge of Middle-Earth to perform various skills. Some of their skill animations actually have the players reading a book.
  • Bag of Holding: Standard inventory, though mounts are now skills and do not take up inventory space
  • Bat Out of Hell:
  • Batman Gambit: The storyline of the Siege of Mirkwood expansion, where the elves of Lórien attack Sauron's fortress in Mirkwood, Dol Guldur. While most of those involved in the attack believe that they're doing this to delay Sauron from attacking Lórien, the biggest motivation behind it (known only to Celeborn and Galadriel, and the players) was to make Sauron focus his attention upon Dol Guldur and nothing more, allowing the Fellowship of the Ring to leave Lórien and go down the river Anduin unnoticed.
  • Beef Gate: In North Chetwood (a starting part of the game with level 8-11 mobs), there is a path that one can take to go to the Weather Hills. Not only does it contain many level 19-21 mobs, but it also contains a ruin named Ost Alagos with elite boss monsters at Level 55!!!
  • Big Damn Heroes: Both NPCs who save you (Tom Bombadil, for example) and you yourself.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The game contains tons of locations, characters, and other things named in the languages Tolkien invented. Sindarin, the tongue of the elves, is the one you'll encounter the most, and Khuzdul, the dwarven tongue, is used plenty within Moria. There are also a few examples of enemies using the Black Speech.
  • Bishonen: The male elves can certainly be quite pretty, but thankfully they only go to Legolas level and not further.
  • Black Magic: Practiced by agents of Sauron... usually at you.
  • Bond Creatures: Lore-master pets. Technically the Captain pets as well, game play-wise... but seeing as they're actual people lore-wise... huh.
  • Book Ends: Some time after finding the powerful mithril-axe Zigilburk, the dwarves trying to reclaim Moria decides to return it to where it was found, it having caused them nothing but trouble. While making your way where it was found, you will speak with a number of dwarves whom you have had dealings with during the storyline, reminding you of everything that you and they have been through.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Mostly for fun; some of the house-decoration items are kegs that do interesting things to you as you get drunker.
    • "You seem to have lost your pants. This makes you sad." (The icon is a sad panda face.)
    • "It's Drunk O'Clock, do you know where your pants are?"
    • "You are quite merry."
  • Boss Banter: Bosses often have stuff to tell you before they engage, and during... and as they die.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Many of them, most of which are Elite Mooks or King Mooks. However, some of them roam around much weaker mobs, forcing many players to have to try and avoid them.
    • The first example you'll probably face would be Baugarch, a level 15 elite warg in an area populated by level 8-11 Mooks which have 150-200 or so health each. As for Baugarch himself - it has over 1500 morale!
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: Almost all classes get a ranged ability of some sort; the melee class Champions and Guardians can equip bows upon getting high enough in level. Wardens on the other hand have javelins. While Captains don't get a ranged weapon, they can call Archer Heralds. The notable exception to this is the burglar who gets no ranged attacks or weapons (except for the ability to stun opponents), outside of throwing knives or rocks if he is a hobbit.
  • Brick Joke:
    • One early questline in the Shire deals with a hobbit who's gone missing. Turns out, he had hid himself on a pipe-weed wagon belonging to a group of brigands working for "Sharkey". The wagon actually went all the way south to Isengard, before returning to the Shire with the hobbit still on it. About 30 levels later, players questing in the Trollshaws will, on the road leading south, stumble upon a barrel - full of pipe-weed!

Peregrin Took: How did that barrel of pipe-weed come to be there, I wonder?

    • In Evendim, there is a questline where a hungry hobbit sends you searching for boars, in hope of being able to get some boar-meat, but no boars are to be found. In an update almost four years later, the hobbit finally got a piece of boar-meat.
    • Another Brick Joke of enormous proportions is hidden within the Epic Story: During the storyline of Mines of Moria (released November 2008) Lady Galadriel looks into her Mirror and tells your character a vision of his future, unique for each class. Hunter's prophecy came to life during the storyline of Siege of Mirkwood (released December 2009) and Lore-Master's during Rise of Isengard (released September 2011). Considering that some other visions contain hints to events in Rohan and Gondor, remaining ones may take years of real-time to happen at the rate the game is developed.
  • Broken Bridge: The early chapters of the Moria storyline. You cannot enter Moria without defeating the Watcher in the Water, and you cannot defeat the Watcher without first obtaining your first legendary weapon and leveling it up. Once that's done, the player can enter Moria and gain access to the areas on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains.
    • There is a literal broken bridge that prevents access to Rohan from Parth Celebrant.
  • Brown Note: Minstrels have abilities that can cause enemies to run in fear, slow their attacks, etc. It's mostly the fear that falls under this trope. Hunters also have a few fear-inducing abilities, including one that affects only animals.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Since the fall of 2010, the game is free-to-play and utilizes a microtransaction system similar to that of Dungeons and Dragons Online.
    • Note that this is somewhat Subverted; it's possible, through the in-game deed system, to earn Turbine Points for playing. Many consider this excessive grinding, though.
  • But Thou Must!: During the Mirkwood storyline, the player and a company of elves is tasked with escorting a captured orc chieftain to Dol Guldur, with the intention of trading him for a dwarf that has been taken prisoner. After an encounter with spiders, the orc becomes infected by a deadly poison, as does one of the elves. While an antidote is found, it is only enough to save one of them. It appears as if the player is allowed to choose who to save, but if one chooses the elf, she declines the antidote and you end up having to choose the orc.
  • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp: Your HP in the game is called "Morale". Rather than being actual health, it represents your character's will to fight.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Mostly averted, since Middle-earth was intended to a proto-earth. Some animals have odd names (such as some crows being called Crebain, the plural form of "raven" in Elvish) but this is often their association rather than their breed, or the fact they share a model with the normal animal.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Common with instance-bosses, mostly to give players a chance to react to said attacks. Then there's one such boss doing it entirely in Black Speech.
  • Capital City: Bree, Thorin's Hall, Rivendell, Caras Galadhon, Twenty-first Hall and Galtrev.
  • Cartography Sidequest: Both Deeds and Quests give you rewards for exploring. There's an exploration Deed for every zone, and a few zones have more than one.
    • And then there is a map collecting deed that rewards you with a huge map of Eriador end the title "Cartographer"
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Lore-master's more powerful offensive skills cost morale as well as power to use, and they also have skills that transfer morale or power from themselves to other friendlies.
  • The Cavalry: Elfhelm and his riders, arriving just in time to win the first battle of the Fords of Isen (though not in time to save Prince Theodred).
  • Chainmail Bikini: Averted. Outfits do not change design depending on a gender of a character, although some tops do mysteriously gain a lower cut for female characters. You don't even get to see alot of back and there's no midriff exposure at all. The most female exposure that you see that commonly turn males (and maybe females) on is exposure of the top part of the breast and some cleavage, which isn't even bad or as explicit as some other things you would most likely see in a lot of other games.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception: And thank god for it.
  • Continuity Nod: The sheer amount of continuity nods is staggering. Chances are if it was in the books, it will appear in the game somewhere, to the point where it is actually possible for players to plot the entire route of the Fellowship all the way from the Shire to Isengard, campsites et al.
  • Cosmetic Award: All characters start able to use the Cosmetic Outfit system, allowing you to display the clothing of your choosing while retaining the bonuses provided by the actual armor. Many prizes in the festivals are these, and the titles... well. This game has more titles than all other MMOs COMBINED. You can even fall down a well and get a title.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: Many of the ruins and houses; entire environments are not recycled, however.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: The player characters never actually "die" over the course of the game. When morale is reduced to zero, they are "defeated", forcing them to retreat or revive. Both give a penalty to morale for a short time.
    • Your Mileage May Vary, as that penalty can subvert this, especially at higher levels. Since that penalty is in the form of "dread" it not only gives you a penalty to morale, but also to incoming healing, the amount of damage you receive, the amount of damage you can do, and the effectiveness of your skills. Since nearly all of these penalties are percentage based, at higher levels you may find yourself forced to wait 10 minutes for it to expire before attempting reasonably challenging content again.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Barrow Wight Caller appears as a regular enemy in the second and third Great Barrow dungeons after serving as a boss in the first one. Thankfully, he doesn't summon the Giant Barrow-crawlers that made the first fight against him a living hell.
    • The quest "Retake Weathertop" features a troll at the very peak of Weathertop as the final foe, and for many players (save for those who finished one particular questline in the Hobbit starting area), this is the first time they get to battle one. Later areas features trolls in much bigger numbers, and you will go one on one against them much more often from that point forward.
  • Damage Typing: Although it includes standard types like "Light" and "Fire," it also includes types such as "Westernesse" and "Ancient Dwarf."
  • Dark Reprise: Warpipes to Hills of the Shire. Both are awesome. Also, there is a not too notable music heard in auction halls, vaults and crafting halls which gets a less boring dark reprise in Moria.
  • Doomed by Canon: A few NPCs, most notably Boromir, Halbarad, and Théodred.
    • Even though Moria (Khazad-Dum) was eventually re-settled, it didn't happen until a few years after the War of the Ring. Which means the Iron Garrison expedition is doomed to fail.
      • However, the Iron Guard's presence in Khazad-Dum is pretty serious break from canon, as there were precious few Dwarves in Khazad-Dum prior to the Fourth Age. In the canon, the Dwarves were expending almost all their resources fighting the Easterlings with the Men of Dale. There's no way that King Dain would actually have authorized such a resource-intensive expedition (remember, Khazad-Dum is huge) in the face of his commitments in the East. Dain would also have had to contend with the massive losses incurred by the Dwarves in their extremely Pyrrhic Victory in the War of Dwarves and Orcs. So, it's entirely possible that the game occurs in the context of a slight Alternate History, in which the Dwarves haven't diminished as much as in Tolkien's Third Age, or at least that there are enough Dwarves in the far western Blue Mountains (which contains Thorin's Hall, one of the two starting areas) to make a re-settlement plausible, again, not the case in canon. Thus, the Iron Guard's future may not be sealed. However, given the fate of every Dwarven expedition to Khazad-Dum since they were first driven out has ended in disaster, (prior to their final victory in the Fourth Age, that is) it seems altogether likely that the Iron Guard will meet the same fate.
    • The Grey Company which settles out to ride south consists of over 60 named Dunedain Rangers led by Halbarad. Yet in the Book of "The Two Towers" Halbarad only had 30 companions with him, of which developers have confirmed to be perfectly aware... Proving that Tropes Are Not Bad, it creates an Anyone Can Die situation, so the tensions are rather high and every threat is being taken seriously. By the end of Book 4, it will be very apparent how those who didn't make it met their demise.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The only way to beat Challenge Mode in Fil Gashan.
  • Dwindling Party: Siege of Mirkwood storyline. You are send on a dangerous errand with Five Elves which compose "The Hidden Guard". Their number starts to dwindle pretty fast. But when you barely knew the first one to die and couldn't really relay to his death, the passing of the last victim is truly heartbreaking.
  • Dual-Wielding: Champions' main shtick; Burglars and Hunters can do it as well. High-level Lore-masters can eventually dual-wield with a sword and a staff if they equip the appropriate trait.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Actually somewhat justified. Prior to Moria, you spend a lot of time helping the Rangers, who in the books are described as protecting the lands of Eriador without being thanked for it, and being happy with it; They probably wouldn't want you to drop the charade. This becomes even more apparent when you return to the Prancing Pony during the gathering of the Grey Company. Because of everything you have done throughout the game, the inhabitants of Bree have been able to live their lives as they always have, none of them knowing what kind of horrors you have saved them from. At one point, Glorfindel even suggests that a song should be written about the player's deeds, but Gandalf says no, that such things should be delayed until Sauron is ultimately defeated.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Early instances such as Fornost, Urugarth and Carn Dum featured non-linear layout and shortcut doors that allowed to skip majority of the instance and head straight the final group of bosses. Moria and subsequent instances generally avoid this.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Moria could be considered to be the ultimate dungeon crawl, as many areas are still not under the control of the Moria Expeditionary Dwarves.
    • Taken Up to Eleven when you are given tasks which effectively make you perform a dungeon crawl inside of a dungeon crawl.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Gollum. Canonically, he was stuck in Moria until the Fellowship entered, and he discovered them. In the game, players get a chance to meet him in the Trollshaws before the Fellowship leaves Rivendell. It's worth noting that Turbine doesn't have the rights to the books stating that Gollum was in Moria at the time, so they had some leeway to make him appear this early, most likely as an Easter Egg to the players.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: Somewhat subverted. While the tension between the two races is shown at various points (especially in the elf/dwarf starter zone), you will often end up uniting the two races against a common foe. The elves of Lórien, as an example, are quick to help the dwarves within Moria, and their attack against Dol Guldur was partially motivated by one of the dwarves being taken captive, and imprisoned there.
  • Elemental Powers:
    • Rune-keepers (Fire, Frost, and Lightning)
    • Lore-masters (Fire and Light are the big ones, with a bit of Frost and Lightning)
    • Minstrels have a few powers activated by War-Speech that use light to damage the enemy.
  • Elite Mook: They come in different varieties (from weakest to strongest): Signature, Elite, Elite Master. Nemesis and Arch-Nemesis are bosses. You'll know that you're fighting one when the border around their health bar is red. If the border also has spikes, a fiery texture, and/or the Eye of Sauron, you know you'll be in for a tough fight.
  • Emote Animation: Quite a few, with more being added with the expansions. Many quests require you to perform certain animations to progress.
  • Escort Mission: Many. Most of them are very, very hard.
    • The NPCs have 'mostly' gotten smarter with the game's age - but the escort quests that shipped with the original game, and mostly occurring at earlier levels, are truly painful. Either the NPC will have suicidal tendencies, walk at a snails pace, or in the epitome of bad NPC behavior, a combination of both. Nothing makes you want to pull your hair out more than having to wait for an extremely slow NPC, only to have them rush at enemies when they appear.
  • Expanded Universe: This game is part of one as opposed to having one.
  • Expansion Pack: Mines of Moria, released in 2008, Siege of Mirkwood in 2009, and The Rise of Isengard which went live on September 26, 2011. The Great River region south of Lorien was released in early 2012, and the Riders of Rohan expansion is due in the fall of 2012.
  • Everything Fades:
    • The elves love to tell you this. Their little voice clips used to remind you constantly until Turbine got enough complaints about 'emo elves' to distribute some happy pills to the Elvish populace.
    • Literally true with defeated enemies, who simply vanish after a few seconds. Convenient, since otherwise every area in the game would be piled high with dead enemies.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: Bears tend to give really bad statuses with their regular attacks. They can inflict a temporary armor debuff (which causes you to take more damage), severe wound (which causes damage over time) and stun (which makes you character unable to do jack for a short while). Getting armor debuffed and wounded while stunned is NO FUN AT ALL.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Monster Play classes:
  • Evil Knockoff: Much like how the orcs and the trolls were noted in the books to have been made in mockery of the elves and the ents, the gaunt-lords created for the game are supposed to be a mockery of the five Wizards. This becomes even more apparent when you get to see Radagast the Brown, one of the wizards, take on his "evil copy", Ivar the Blood-hand, in a quick battle.
  • Experience Points: Mostly gained via questing, but as of Siege of Mirkwood you can level via Skirmishes now as well.
  • Feathered Fiend: Hendrevail (sing. Hendroval) and Crebain (sing. Craban), both used as spies for the Enemy.
  • Fetch Quest: Wouldn't be an MMO without 'em.
  • Four Races: Hobbits, elves, men and dwarves. Each race is further divided based on background (Men can come from Rohan, Gondor, the Dale, or Bree, for instance), but this is entirely cosmetic.
  • Flash Back: The "Session Play" mechanic, which allows you witness events from the past, while playing as another character. Some Session Plays feature characters and events made up by the developers, but from Moria and forward, you will also see Session Plays that display characters and events straight from the books, that normally would be unavailable to the players; The release of the Balrog of Moria, the last stand of Balin's Company in the Chamber of Mazarbul, and Aragorn's first meeting with Gandalf, as some examples.
  • Follow the Leader/Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: In Cataclysm and Skyrim, dragons play a big part. Though full-blown dragons have been rare in Lot RO, a 24-player raid released in-between Cataclysm and Skyrim have the players challenging a dragon. Coincidence?
  • Foregone Conclusion: While players get to interact with the members of the Fellowship, the only explanation for their mission in-game is that it is "of great importance" and that "it will decide the fate of Middle-Earth".
    • Technically the player character is aware of Frodo's quest since the whole game is given away by Fredegar Bolger in an early part of the Book 1 epic questline. The player helps him surives a Craban attack and then Fredegar mentions "the Enemy's ring", information that is then passed along to the ranger watching the Buckland border. This knowledge is never mentioned again.
  • Foreshadowing: The Rangers, when being summoned to the Grey Company, makes a big deal out of leaving, fearing that bad things will happen to Eriador when they are gone. That's exactly what happens in the "In Their Absence" storyline.
  • Forging Scene: After a long questline, players get a chance to witness as Aragorn's pieces of Narsil are reforged as Andúril.
  • Full Boar Action: The number of boars, and quests related to killing them, have become a bit of an in-joke among the players, and the developers are not above lampshading this. In the Evendim-region, there's a quest solely to point out that there are no boars in this area. In Lothlórien, one questgiver who sends you kill a number of boars, asks why the players character is rolling his eyes at the mention of the word "boar". Another quest sends you picking boar-droppings. There's even a boar related title; Kill a boar in every region of Eriador and you get the title "Pork-Chopper"!
    • Not to mention that boars can get quite annoying with their disease-causing bite, which lowers your damage output for two long minutes...
  • Ghibli Hills: Most of the game world, but especially the Shire (which is the damn king of that trope) the Trollshaws, Bree-land, Ered Luin and Eregion.
  • Giant Spiders: And lots of them indeed!
    • They seem to get much larger on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains. Compare the dog-sized giant spiders in the Lone-Lands or North Downs with the much larger ones in Mirkwood, or especially the Limlight Gorge, where the spiders have to be the size of a house.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Hunters and Rune-Keepers are like this, they do a TON of burst damage, but can't take damage well (especially the Rune-Keeper, who sports lighter armour).
    • Champions in Fervour mode might be a borderline case for the Melee classes, as Fervour gives the Champion higher damage output but prevents the Champion from blocking, evading, or parrying, making them quite vulnerable to getting killed if too many mobs engage them at once, particularly in their pre-20s before they get Heavy Armour. And to make things worse, Fervour also reduces your incoming healing, meaning that Minstrels, Captains, Lore-masters and Rune-keepers have a harder time keeping you alive.
    • The Master of Nature's Fury trait set for Lore-masters. With four traits from the set equipped, it gives you MAJOR (i.e. 25%+) bonuses to tactical (i.e. all elemental) and fire damage, but then it takes one of your most useful survivability skills, Blinding Flash, and nerfs it to oblivion.
  • Global Currency: Copper, Silver and Gold. Makes more sense than it sometimes does, as the Free Peoples are pretty familiar with each other, so it'd make sense for them to have a common currency.
    • Worth to be noted that it is averted for Monster Play, where none of regular game currency is used.
  • God Mode: Due to the refit on some zones, previously group quests have a solo mode. These modes often "power up" the player so you can take out the boss.
    • Worth noting that since dread is percentage based, instances with a lot of landscape dread can still result in your death - even with this buff.
  • Gravity Barrier: Just about every map area is surrounded by cliffs or hills that are too steep to climb, or in a couple of cases a body of water that can't be crossed without dying.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: There's a lot of "queer" things going on in Middle-earth.

Frodo: Have you been in Rivendell long? Sam thinks it's a queer place, but I think he likes it too.

  • Healing Hands: The Minstrel and the Rune-Keeper are the primary healing classes. Captains and Lore-Masters can act as healers, though that isn't their primary role, and their healing abilities are more limited in scope.
  • Hero Must Survive: Often happens when fighting a battle with one of the Rangers, or an allied elf or dwarf. Sometimes the NPC in question is very tough and can actually help you win the fight, while at other times the NPC is pitifully weak and keeping them alive is frustratingly difficult.
  • Hero of Another Story: The entire game revolves around what everyone else, including your character, was doing while the Fellowship was off trying to destroy the One Ring. This means that, in this story at least, the Fellowship is this as well.
  • Hide Your Children: While there are plenty of civilians strolling around in Bree, Rivendell, etc, there are no teenagers or children visible.
    • Subverted with the Rise of Isengard, where there are kids running around in the Dunland village of Galtrev. Some of whom give quests. And sound like the wrinkly old women when you talk to them. Yes, even the boy.
  • Homage: One hobbit and his questline is directly based on the professor himself, and some of his stories. Of particular note is the quest where he asks you to find a piece of paper, upon which he had begun to write a story:

Lost leaf of paper: In a hole in the ground there lived a boar. No, that's not it.

  • A Homeowner Is You: Once they hit level 15, players can buy and decorate a house in one of four regions, based on the style of housing used by the four playable races.
  • Honor Before Reason: A villainous example. Elves on the outskirts of Lothlorien ask you to kill an Orc Chieftain, protected by a big Troll bodyguard too strong for you alone. The solution is to mock the Chieftain in front of his lackeys - he then orders the Troll to stand back while he charges you alone, desperate to earn back the respect of his subordinates. Needless to say, the player easily defeats him.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Sambrog when fought during the Othrongroth epic quest. All you can do is try to stay alive until Tom shows up to bail you out.
  • Horse of a Different Color: A game based on the Lord of the Rings doesn't allow for much in the way of mounts other than horses, but with Moria the players got oversized goats, so they could ride inside the mines, where no horse would dare enter.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Four out of the five gaunt-lords, powerful beings made as a mockery of the five Wizards, have powers that somewhat resembles the Four Horsemen. These four are Ferndûr the Virulent (pestilence), Ivar the Blood-hand (war), Thadúr the Ravager (famine), and Drugoth the Death-monger (death). The fifth gaunt-lord, Gortheron the Doom-caller, the strongest of the five, is the embodiment of purest evil.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Besides the aforementioned Bag of Holding, most quest items don't take up regular inventory space. Lampshaded by an NPC in Buckland who can't figure out how adventurers can carry the numerous animal corpses he asks for.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy
  • Informed Equipment: A side-effect of the cosmetic outfit system, which allows your characters to display armour or clothing completely independent of the actual gear he/she has equipped. This can lead to oddities like seeing a supposedly heavy-armoured class rushing headlong into melee wearing nothing but a dress.
    • Averted, by design, in Pv MP zones - where the cosmetic system is disabled.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Dread effects change your minimap to the Eye of Sauron if they stack high enough; they also darken your vision. Hope effects do the same but the other way around. (These effects can be disabled).
    • As characters get more drunk, the camera starts to sway, vision doubles (with the after-image appearing more "real"), and at the highest levels, everything appears in sepia tone.
    • A quest along the Great River has you breaking "reek-weeds" to help frighten off Rohirrim fishermen too close to Lorien. While the bad smell lasts, the screen is ringed by a fairly thick mixed-shade red and yellow border that obscures almost half the screen.
  • Interface Spoiler: Quest rewards, which are shown when accepting a quest, are sometimes named in a manner that spoils the ending of the quest. One quest, as an example, tasks you with going to an old chamber in search of a powerful axe named Zigilburk. One of the quest rewards is named "Zigilburk's Finder", making it quite obvious that you'll end up finding what you're looking for.
  • Invisible Monsters: Stealthed enemies will appear invisible until you get near them, at which you will notice them moving stealthily about. By then, it may be too late, because they will usually aggro anybody who gets near...
  • Item Crafting: There are numerous crafting options, including but not limited to cooking, farming, prospecting, woodworking, tailoring, etc. It's often the case that the best armor or weapons at any given level are player-crafted. Not to mention that there's an immersive quality to farming in the Shire, or forging in Rivendell.
  • Joke Character: There's an optional quest where you can play as a level 1 chicken. Yes, a level 1 chicken. And you have to travel all over the Shire, Bree-Land, Ered Luin, the Lone Lands, the North Downs, and the Trollshaws (the last one has unavoidable stealthed lynxes). Needless to say, get hit even once and you're fodder.
    • You have to go through Evendim as well, which is second to the Trollshaws in terms of difficulty. (As a chicken, of course.)
  • Just Add Water: With some crafting professions (in particular, the Farmer), you literally just add water (and it has to be bought by vendors).
  • Kill Ten Rats: Not only a common type of quest, but also the name of an actual quest.
  • Killed Off for Real: Due to the nature of the game's timeline (how far in the story you are depends on the region you are in and the quests you are doing) and monsters and instances reset, named enemies can be killed multiple times. However, characters who die in quests and instances, especially characters that are involved in the epic story, can be considered this although you can replay the event.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority:
    • The names of the enemies will change colour depending on their level as compared to yours.
      • 9 levels or lower- Gray (You shouldn't bother with these, as they will give you no exp. They will not even bother to aggro you.)
      • 5-8 levels lower- Green (Very weak, and they will give you very reduced exp.)
      • 3-5 levels lower- Light Blue (Weaker than you, and will give reduced exp.)
      • 1-2 levels lower- Dark Blue (Slightly weaker than you, and does not give reduced exp)
      • Same level- White (These guys are on equal footing with you)
      • 1-2 levels higher- Yellow (Slightly stronger than you, and will give you slightly more exp)
      • 3-4 levels higher- Orange (Stronger than you, and will give you more exp)
      • 5-7 levels higher- Red (Much stronger than you, and will give you quite a lot more exp, if you can even defeat them)
      • 8+ levels higher- Purple (Run like heck, you have no chance to survive)
    • The frame around the enemy's status also shows their toughness:
      • Swarm: Green (These guys are weak, they have 1/2 the hp and do about 1/2 the damage of a normal enemy of the same level. They tend to appear in groups, though)
      • Normal: Blue (These guys are regular old Mooks, nothing special.
      • Signature, Elite and above: Red (These guys are Elite Mooks, ranging from 2x to over 10x as strong as compared to a normal Mook)
  • Lethal Joke Character: The Lore-Master. At low levels, they don't seem much and can't do much. At higher levels, they are capable of whooping a Guardian with the right strategy, with melee attacks. From the front. With light armour. And a stick.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Very frustrating when you're trying to send your level 8 character some legendary weapons so they can fly through the game.
  • Level Scaling: There's always a tougher enemy in the next region to challenge the player as they level up. If the enemies in a given area are too far above the player's level, those enemies hit harder and sense you from further away, making travel in those regions very dangerous.
  • Life Meter: Called "morale" in-game, the idea being that the green bar represents your will to fight and your inner resolve rather than hit points.
  • Loading Screen: You'll see some of the same landscapes or architecture many times as the computer loads up a new area. The tips can be useful though.
  • Lost Superweapon: The dwarves during the Moria storyline believe that they have found one in the mithril-axe Zigilburk, and that it will help them turn the tide against the orcs infesting Moria. Many of the hardships the dwarves suffer during the storyline comes from them growing overconfident and making stupid decisions in the belief that the discovery of the axe alone will give them victory. In the end, they return it to where they found it, vowing never to use it again.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Rune-Keepers and Lore-Masters.
  • Magic Music: Minstrels use this, though technically since you operate off of morale rather than hit points, they're only "boosting your will to fight" with inspirational music rather than using magic to heal. The reverse is true when it comes to wearing down an enemy, though the logic breaks down when it comes to the actual killing blow.
    • That's for the healing at least; there is a canon basis for the more directly magic Magic Music that the Minstrel uses in the Lay of Beren and Luthien, in which Luthien is able to lull Morgoth to unconciousness with her song so she and Beren can steal a Silmaril.
    • It's also possible that the designers drew inspiration from the Ainulindalë, in which the music of the Ainur is used to shape the world itself (though it takes the word of Eru to make it actually exist).
  • Meaningful Name: In Skirmishes, the enemy lieutenants which act as mini-bosses:
    • Bearer of Blights attack with physical poison, disease, wound and fear attacks.
    • Brood-Queens are Giant Spiders that lay an egg in a targeted character, which then hatches into a spider mook.
    • Brothers of Destruction will summon copies of itself to attack the fellowship, the number of which depends on the fellowship size. Thankfully they're not found in solo skirmishes.
    • Chaos-Fiends use a plethora of deadly debuffs on your characters.
    • Crazed Hate-Mongers will go into a frenzied rage and attack players randomly.
    • Daunting Spirit-Sappers create an aura that slows characters' speed, attack war-mup and attack cooldown.
    • Death-Mongers are able to summon a fell spirit from their fallen allies to battle you.
    • Defenders of the Vile will use defensive buffs on their allies, reducing incoming damage.
    • Dourhand Keg-Masters drink beer, which gives them both a buff and debuff, as well as throwing the beer at you, making you drunk (which gives you the same buff/debuff). He also uses exploding beer-bombs as an attack.
    • Dourhand Storm-Keepers attack your character with lightning magic.
    • Echos of Death have an ability that reflects back attack effects as well as causing the attacker to take more damage for a period of time.
    • Flesh Gorgers are lizards who love the smell of death, and will gain a stat boost every time it kills either a player or their soldier.
    • Frigid Squalls are ice-spirits that come with a freezing aura which damages players on contact.
    • Leech-Wardens use an area-debuff that drains HP and MP.
    • Pale Trappers set up a trap of flames on the ground that constantly damage players who stand on it.
    • Priests of Vengeance give their allies a buff that deals twice the damage back should an attacker harm them.
    • Priestesses of Flames will set up an even larger flame traps on the ground that do large amounts of damage.
    • Raging Marauders will go into a rage mode where their damage and attack rate is increased.
    • Shepherds of Filth summon filth-crawlers which explode into sticky goo, slowing down your character's movement as well as attack speed. Probably the most annoying one out there.
    • Silent Slayers are wargs that use stealth to disappear from view, then stealthily attack a player for large damage.
    • Tempests of Flame are fire-spirits that cast a large flame aura that deals very high fire damage to anybody around it.
    • Troll Wound-Takers are able to heal their allies at the cost of their own health.
    • Venomous Blood-Arrows attack with poisoned arrows which, if not cured in time, will either do large damage to health, MP, both HP and MP, or stun the victim for a few seconds.
    • Wretched Falconers will use their hit points to summon crows that attack the player.
    • Zealots of Pain are able to buff their allies by inspiring them, increasing their attack power.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters - The Avanc in Dunland, creatures who appear to be half alligator, half turtle.
  • Mordor: Well, aside from Mordor itself, there's Angmar, and Moria.
  • Monsters Everywhere
  • Mounted Combat: To be introduced (after much speculation from players), appropriately, with the Rohan-expansion.
  • Musical Assassin: Minstrel again. Several of their abilities deal a quite large amount of damage, especially at low levels.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Players are certainly quick to reference the movies, and the associated memes when given the opportunity. Asking to buy taters in a trade-channel, for example, will lead to (multiple) replies of "what's taters, precious?" The Isengard announcement also confirmed that we are, in fact, taking our hobbits to Isengard.
    • Mines of Moria introduced a quest to find a location named The Bat Cave, due to being relatively hard to locate in an area where the density of mobs made exploration tedious, there were many pleas for help on finding this location. Much to those players' annoyance, the most common answer was "Under Wayne Manor".
  • Named Weapons: We're talking about The Lord of the Rings here. In addition to Sting, Anduril and Glamdring, many characters you meet bear their own (Cumaeth, Dunachar, Zigilburk etc). Technically, every weapon you come across is named as well, though even when it's "Randiram" instead of "Hardened Yew Bow" it's mostly for gameplay reasons rather than the story. But eventually, you do get to name your own.
    • This comes in two varieties - the first and original was the ability for crafters to "name" what they made if they achieved critical success or crafted some item that required a rare ingredient. This name would appear in the "Name" field of the tooltip. From Mines of Moria on, with the introduction of Legendary Items, it is possible to actually name your weapon, and have it appear as the main text on the tooltip.
      • Amusingly enough on crafted Legendary Items, both systems come into play
  • Narrator: Cutscenes that are shown after completing parts of the main storyline, and instances seperate from the open world, are with few exceptions narrated by high-profile characters from the books. Before the first expansion of the game, it was Gandalf. Through Moria, and beyond, it was Galadriel. Volume 3 deviated from having universal narrator for all content: various bits are narrated by Elrond, Halbarad, Grey Company Rangers, minor Dunlendings, not-so-minor Rohirrim and even Saruman himself whenever appropriate.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted, with Monster Play. You get to play Sauron's forces and attempt to crush the good guys.
  • Non-Lethal KO
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Falling sprains your ankles (and causes one of the most bone-crunching cracks ever) and slows your movement speed for awhile. If you fall far enough, you die. (Unless you hit water that's deep enough... if it's not deep enough, your momentum will make you hit the bottom, and either your ankle will crack or you will die.)
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Pretty much everything the Fellowship does. We know what happens, but are never around to see it, only arriving at a later date. The Burnt Tor, where the Fellowship fought some wargs and Gandalf put the trees on fire, is a prime example; All we get to see is a hilltop with charred trees, and some remains from the battle.
  • Olympic Swimmer: How else is the PC capable of the hours of swimming required while crossing and re-crossing Lake Evendim? Not to mention swimming while loaded down with armor and supplies.
  • One-Gender Race: Not in lore, but players can only make a male model dwarf. This is explained in that a) the women rarely leave the mountain-halls, and b) they look just like the men anyway.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Turbine originally fell into this trope in respect to the voices, as throughout most of the original game, dwarves would always be portrayed with the stereotypical Scottish accent. From Mines of Moria on, they caught and corrected this error - giving an accent that was more in line with Tolkien's description of them. This can result in a perceived Misplaced Accent, as the stereotype is so strong, those used to dwarves from other fantasy works may find this "correct" accent to be jarring. This trope is also heavily averted with Dwarves being able to play as Runekeepers and Hunters, which are as far from the Waraxe-wielding Dwarf Beserker stereotype as is possible to get.
    • It's also worth noting that they're nowhere near the alcoholics they're portrayed as in other fantasy stories. Apart from the Ale Association, which only appears during in-game festivals, when it comes to NPCs the only drunks you will see are hobbits or elves. There's even a quest where you have to scold a bunch of elves who have had too much wine!
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The vast majority of ghosts seen in the game are oath-breakers, men with Unfinished Business who failed to live up to sworn oaths in life and cannot find peace in death until they do what they originally promised.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Tolkien orcs! Nothing too surprising about them, really.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Guaradan (wolf-man), found in Forochel and a few other wilderness areas. They dress in wolf pelts, howl like wolves, associate with genuine wolves and use man-made claws as weapons rather than swords or axes. They're probably closer to giants than humans, given how large they are, and it's not clear if they're actually part wolf or if they just all act like wolves for some reason.
  • Perpetually Static: The game started out fully embracing this trope, with the main storyline tied to the that of the Fellowship. Each Region is locked in time, so it's always September 3018 in the Shire, December 3018 in Rivendell, February 3019 in Lothlorien etc. As a result, many characters can appear in different locations simultaneously - because they are also in different time periods, sometimes down to a specific date assigned to the room they're in. Any missions taking place on landscape as opposed to dungeons were actually set in instanced spaces designed to look like open world, with the world itself unchanged by your actions. The part of the story you're supposed to affect conforms to this trope as well: characters who died or permanently moved away were simply hidden behind suddenly impassible doors, locations you supposedly cleared of enemies were still crawling with mooks and Big Bads of group instances could be defeated repeatedly even despite sometimes surviving and opposing you in encounters later down the storyline as well. Lately, however, the designers have been experimenting with Phasing to a great effect: characters in open world can now appear and disappear by moving along the landscape with you or even be Killed Off for Real and the world itself can be affected by your actions, so the village being burned or overrun by brigands can be freed and rebuild after you save it - while other people walking around see different things depending on their own progress. This feature, however, is only implemented in recently added regions of Enedwaith, Dunland and Isengard, while the rest of the world still employs static rules. While developers have expressed their desire to eventually bring the rest of the world to date, it's admittedly not of the top priority.
    • This feature can lead to unintentionally amusing consequences - such as if the player is still working through Book 3 and starts Book 4 in the Volume III epic quest line, there will be two Halbarads in the Enedwaith capital.
  • Pillar of Light: The level-up animation. At certain levels, it's replaced with a great, white tree with falling leaves.
    • A number of the Lore-master and Minstrel skills do this as well; Light of the Rising Dawn for the LM's and the Call of the Second Age (IIRC). Minstrels get Anthem of the Valar, Call of Orome and a few other skills that involve a pillar of light as the method of attack.
  • Power Drain: Lore-masters get this ability fairly early on. Quite handy, especially combined with the ability to transfer power to other party members.
  • Preorder Bonus: For Founders, extra items at level 1; same with the expansions.
  • Prison Episode: As part of the Isengard storyline, players are captured and put to work in the caves beneath Isengard, being tasked to perform menial tasks such as cleaning the floors, killing ten rats, moving weapon-supplies and the like.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Again, via the modern conventions, though playing as a female in the race of Men will cause NPCs to refer to you as a Woman, making the more vocal enemies seem almost hilariously sexist.
    • On the other hand, playing a male human, where they will refer to you as "Man", will make those same enemies sound like Hippies.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: The games takes great care to avert this. You can make things like hats, cloaks, and even boots invisible, you can dye all of your equipment in a wide variety of colors, and you use cosmetic system to replace the visuals of your actual equipment without having any effect on the stats.
  • Randomly Drops: Can get painful at times, but most of the time it's 100%/50% droprate on quest items, but lower on crafting ones.
  • Rare Random Drop: The book pages required to earn legendary skills. Certain crafting items as well, such as Sigils of Rhi Helevarch are very rare drops.
  • Real Money Trade: Turbine has made some effort towards shutting up gold spammers in the Trade and city chats, but it still happens. Their prices are pretty cheap, unsurprisingly...
  • Redemption Equals Death: for Narmeleth.
  • Repeatable Quest: A number of quests in Moria, Lothlorien, the Enedwaith, Dunland and the Great River region are repeatable daily and help boost xp, Legendary Item xp, and faction reputation.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Kergrim, reptilian creatures found primarily around tombs and barrows, who consume the remains of the dead.
  • Respawn Point: The stone circles to which a defeated character retreats.
  • Reward From Nowhere: Skirmish marks, a type of currency gained from skirmishes. You will gain some marks from looting enemies or chests, but many of them comes out of nowhere upon capturing flags (offensive skirmishes), surviving repeated enemy attacks (defensive skirmishes), or optional encounters.
  • Rewriting Reality: The Rune-Keeper's method of attack. Some animations actually show him pulling out his scribing tool and writing on a tablet as his attacks occur. Numerous skill descriptions begin with 'When the Rune-Keeper writes of x, the effects can be real...'
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • The Aurochs Yearling. Aww...
    • Also, with Rise of Isengard, Warg Pups. Apparently, they show up in a quest called "Not Cute At All".
  • Ruins for Ruins Sake: Averted for the most part. There are plenty of ruins to be found throughout Middle-Earth, but they generally have a known history and reason for being where they are.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Via standard MMO convention. You can choose to walk by hitting Insert, but really, who wants to? Pressing NumLock will turn autorun on and off, giving your hand a rest.
  • Run or Die: The Session Play Instance "The Fall Of Moria." You play as a dwarf alongside Durin and break down a cave wall to find Mithril. Only to end up trapped, facing the Balrog. You then have to survive for about 2 minutes or so before the passage opens and you can run away.
  • Scenery Porn: Every zone is made of this. Vast, majestic natural vistas abound in Middle-Earth. There's even a quest which rewards the player by allowing them to climb to the top of the Way of Kings colossus and just have a look around.
  • Schmuck Bait: "It's Barrow-Brie! It's quite smelly and no doubt highly deadly. Only the unwise would eat it"
    • And if you do eat the cheese despite the obvious warning, you get a debuff that does a considerable amount of damage every 2 seconds, for 20 minutes. You also get the apt title "The Unwise".
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Balrog Thaurlach, who has been imprisoned in the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu for two-thousand years. Naturally, he breaks free in time for the players to fight him.
  • Serious Business:
    • The lore. While most players agree that some changes between the books and the game is necessary to make it fun to play, every now and then someone asks on the forums for something that many see as "over the line", leading to this. Topics like "eagle mounts," "open world PVP" and "ranger/wizard class" are frequently exposed to this.
    • While the debate over open world PvP is always an intense one, whether you're for it or not depends entirely on your experience with it in other games, as opposed to the lore.
  • Shoot the Medic First: This becomes a priority in Moria where any number of orcs can heal themselves or others, prolonging the fight as your power runs out.
  • Shout-Out:

Colbert the Mad: It wasn't the Witch-King that brought Fornost to ruin. It was the bears.

Statdor Proudfoot : Another delay?
Waldo Tunnley: You think we'd be used to it by now...
Statdor Proudfoot : What, the disappointment?
Waldo Tunnley: No, the terrible acting!
Both: Oh-ho-ho-ho!'

    • Concerned by recent events, the Shire chickens are planning to investigate matters. Led by the brave hen, Billina
    • Quartermaster Ash: "Do you see this? This is my Orc-cleaver."
    • There is one area in the game which goes by the name Dôl Dínen, which is Sindarin for Silent Hill. Given that the areas inhabitants are mostly orcs and trolls, this might be a coincidence.
    • There is a skirmish trainer near Bree Town called Bill Tiller.
    • In a somewhat secluded corner of Enedwaith, there is a small cave with a lone bunny inhabiting it, surrounded by corpses.
    • One of the musical instruments available to Minstrels is the moor cowbell, a nod to Christopher Walken's Saturday Night Live sketch with Blue Oyster Cult.
    • One of the quest rewards you get from the "Twistitongue" riddle questline all through Moria is a sword named "Sword of a Thousand Riddles" - which is an obvious Shout-Out to the World of Warcraft themed South Park episode 'Make Love, Not Warcraft' which features a sword by the name of "Sword of a Thousand Truths"
    • During the Elven Spring Festival, there's a quest involving a game of "Stomp-a-shrew". In this quest, you have to wear a pair of special shrew-stomping boots. The description for said boots? "These boots were made for stomping, and that's just what they'll do. One of these days these boots are going to stomp all over shrews."
  • Smoking Is Cool: All players have access to the "smoke" emote which makes their character begin smoking a pipe. Various types of pipeweed are also available which allow for more elaborate smoking.
  • Speak Friend and Enter: works well on Elf-enchanted doors, not so well when infiltrating a conspiracy hideout:

Otis Woodman: Friend? What kind of password is that? I am not your friend!

  • Squishy Wizard: Rune-keepers, who wear light armour and cannot take much damage, though their spells can hurt for a lot. Lore-Masters can also fall into this category, along with Minstrels since ROI, now that medium armor can no longer be used by the class.
  • Status Buff: Most classes can buff their party members in some way, but the Minstrel takes the cake: pretty much every skill you have will buff you or the party. Captains also excel in this area.
  • Stone Wall: Guardians. Their main role in battle is to tank damage and draw threat from the other members. However, their melee damage output isn't as good as a Champion, though the two-handed Overpower stance does allow for killing mobs quickly at the cost of protecting allies. Wardens fill in a similar role too as tanking characters.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: There are several variations on this. On more than one occasion you have to talk to an enemy before fighting him. Despite the fact that you know you'll have to fight, you can't attack until you listen to what he has to say. In addition, at least one pair of enemies in Moria will alternate attacks, and while one is attacking the other cannot be hit. Some enemies cannot be killed, you can only whittle their morale down to a certain point, after which they'll surrender or run, and the fight is over.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Your characters get some early heroics, but the real story in the epic chain leaves your character watching NPCs finish the fight.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The first expansion, Mines of Moria, introduced the Legendary Item advancement system. Until the player receives his Legendary weapon and proves that he can operate with it (reforge, slot relics, apply titles etc) he cannot advance the Main Storyline and cannot pass the Doors of Moria.
    • An example from the original book is Narsil / Anduril. Turns out a special mineral is required to reforge such an epic sword and the player is sent on a quest to get a piece of it (which composes the longest non-epic quest chain in the game by the way).
  • Taking Over the Town: The introductory questline for Men and Hobbits involves an effort to protect the village of Archet which is having this done to them by the Blackwolds, a vicious brigand gang that has cut a deal with the evil forces of Angmar. After blockading the gate to Combe, the neighboring town, to prevent the people of Archet from going there for aid, they proceed to launch an assault against the town that is only stopped by the intervention of the village leader's son, his band of hunters, and the player.
  • Time Skip: Made possible by elves and dwarves having longer lifespans than humans and hobbits, their tutorials takes place a long time before the rest of the game's storyline (which beguns just as Frodo leaves Bag End). The dwarf tutorial begins just as Thorin Oakenshield and Company are leaving for the Lonely Mountain. The elven tutorial takes place six-hundred years prior to the main storyline!
  • The Rangers Who Don't Do Anything: While they do join you and take a more active role on a few occasions, most of the time the Rangers of the North, who are said to be protecting the lands of Eriador from dangers, will send you to do most of their work for them. Of course, it wouldn't really make for a fun game if they did all the work.
  • Tragic Monster: Poor Amdir.
  • Training Dummy: Training dummies in the starting areas, and now, in Galtrev, Stangard and Etheburg.
  • Tree-Top Town: Caras Galadhon, the Hidden Elf Village that is the capital of Lothlorien. It's almost entirely built of platforms up in the Mallorn trees that comprise the forest.
  • Try to Fit That on A Business Card: Can happen to players, thanks to the the ability to give your character a surname, the many, many titles, and the option to display your Player Versus Player ranking.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: These are usually avoided, but they do pop up from time to time.
    • It is fairly common for certain quest-lines to consist of a Kill Ten Rats-quest, followed by a Twenty Bear Asses-quest, and ending with a quest to kill an Elite Mook, all of them taking place in the same area. No, doing them all at once is not an option, even though you logically should have been able to, and probably killed the Elite Mook at least once during your first two visits.
  • The Undead: Known as "Wights". and known collectively as "The Dead," some of whom are quite creepy. One type are nothing more than zombie arms that drag themselves towards you with their fingers to attack. Another vomits up a large worm to attack you if you don't kill it fast enough.
    • And they get freaking irritating with all those diseases and other debuffs they inflict on you, which lower your stats for a long time or drains mp. Worse still, you take damage from being right next to them due to their "Shadow Aura."
  • Underground Monkey: Definitely has some (bears, boars, spiders, etc), although different versions of an enemy may have a few aesthetic changes.
  • Underwater Ruins: A partial example: one of the last kings to rule in Annúminas asked the guardian of Lake Evendim to raise the level of the lake to protect an important artifact, leaving the lower portions of the city that were nearest the lake partially or fully submerged. And while characters can't actually go diving, there is a quest requiring them to recover artifacts from these submerged ruins.
  • Units Not to Scale: Actually, it's the landscape that isn't to scale with Tolkien's descriptions. For example, the Forsaken Inn should be a day's journey east of Bree according to Aragorn, but in the game it's actually about a five minute ride. Justified in that a lot game time is taken up with travel, especially for free players. Would any player really want to spend twenty times as long walking from here to there?
  • Unknown Rival: A Hillmen of Angmar discovers that his ancestor was killed by a Halfling from the South and decides that a curse was then laid on his line, that can only be broken by him killing the descendant of said Halfling. He travels all the way to the Shire and unsuccessfully tried to attack the well-respected Hobbit, who stays totally oblivious of the vendetta until the player comes along.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Somewhat justified in that the unusable items you pick up are described as damaged or in an otherwise undesirable state.
  • Vendor Trash: And lots of it! Particularly since minor crafting materials drop a lot, but aren't worth much on the Auction House.
    • Made slightly more tolerable with the introduction of "Tasks", which allow you to turn in a lot of the Vendor Trash, in exchange for xp, reputation, and Legendary Item xp. Not to mention simply collecting and selling the Vendor Trash, which supplements the character's income quite nicely.
  • Video Game Stealing: Another burglar ability. Successful pickpocketing can produce items from an enemy that will never be obtained by killing and looting the enemy.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You have two free slots for cosmetic outfits, and can even bind them to a key. More slots are available, but must be paid for.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: For many players it's the Barrow Wight Caller, first boss of The Great Barrow: The Maze instance. This guy can wipe out an entire party with ease, due to the fact that he summons four Giant Barrow-crawlers that spit out AOE poison clouds that cause massive damage over time.
    • And then it appears as a Degraded Boss. Thankfully, it doesn't summon those dreaded Giant Barrow-crawlers.
  • We Buy Anything: And thank god for it.
  • Webcomic Time: Four years after launch, the storyline has progressed from The Fellowship of the Ring, to just before the beginning of The Two Towers, an in-universe timespan of six months. This might be made even worse in the future, with the rest of the storyline (The Two Towers, Return of the King) taking place over a period of one month, yet covering almost as much landscape as the game has already released. And if they're going to cover the events taking place at the Lonely Mountain as well...
    • Everything the PC experiences between meeting the Fellowship in Lothlorien and participating in Theodred's raid on Isengard takes about two weeks. That's right, all the events in Mirkwood, back through Moria to the Enedwaith and all the roving around Dunland are somehow compressed into that very short window of time.
  • Wham! Line: As the Grey Company rides towards Rohan, they end up encountering a crazy, old dwarf by the name of Nár. Most of what he says are either mad ramblings, or references to things that happened hundreds of years ago. Then, during a brief moment of sanity, he reveals that he knows about the Grey Company's mission, and their plans to pass through the Paths of the Dead.
    • He later manages another one by revealing the source of his knowledge.

Nar: Well, Saruman the White of course. I thought you knew...

  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: An early minstrel quest requires you to help a hobbit seek revenge on those who have stolen his lunch. You later write and perform a ballad about it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?/Cryptic Background Reference: The developers have made a habit of taking these kind of things from the books, references that were only briefly mentioned and left unexplained, and elaborated on them in-game. Most recently, the current storyline deals with the summoning of the Grey Company and their journey south to Rohan. In the books, their appearance after Helm's Deep came as a surprise to everyone, both to the characters and to the reader. Legolas and Gimli guessed that Galadriel had them summoned, but there was no confirmation of that in the books. More examples:
    • The reforging of the Narsil/Andúril sword was backed with a long line of quest that went through finding a vital ingredient for the sword and then your adventurer attending the reforging with the company of some of the main cast of the book. None of these things were much mentioned in the book aside from that the sword was reforged before Aragorn left Rivendell.
    • The books mentions that after the Nazgul were wiped away at the Ford of Bruinen, only eight of their nine horses were found. In-game there's a long questline dealing with finding the ninth one.
    • A number of regions in-game were mentioned in the books but not detailed, most notably Angmar and Forochel.
    • While adventuring in the Brown Lands, players will run across Easterlings know as Blue Caste Sorcerors. This is likely a reference to the two Blue Wizards, Allatar and Pallando, who came over the sea with Gandalf, Radagast and Saruman, and who went into the east of Middle-Earth and never returned. Tolkien speculates in one story that they may have become agents of Sauron, or spawned cults of magic in the east. Apparently in the world of LOTRO, this is exactly what happened.
  • When Trees Attack: Mobile trees (known as Huorns in the lore) are a common hazard in the Old Forest and elsewhere. Many of them are Signature-level and have Swarm-level roots that also attack you.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Spiders?: Bounder Boffin of the introductory instance for Hobbits hates spiders, meaning that you have to kill them for him.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: You can go just about anywhere in the world, provided you can survive. There are exceptions, such as being unable to enter Moria without completing the initial legendary weapon storyline, but for the most part players are not restricted by any sort of linear plotline.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Turbine doesn't own the rights to all of Tolkien's books, so some things from his stories are off limits. As an example, even though Sauron called himself Annatar during part of the Second Age, the game names him Antheron during a flashback to that time period. Similarly, they can't use Ost-in-Edhil for Celebrimbor's capital city in Eregion, so the name Mirobel is substituted instead.