… I’m glad I spent it with you…
After more hours than I’m really pleased to admit, I’ve finally mastered both farming and cooking in LotRO. Yeah, I know, I ought to be working on the crafting simulator. It’s been a busy time at work (as we delivered another major software publish), so I made the executive decision that I needed mindless, repetitive clicking followed by long periods of waiting more than I needed to torture my already-tired brain. So today, I will review my Yeoman crafting experiences to date in LotRO.
I began with farming. Farming amuses me. I don’t really know why, but I just find it giggle-worthy that we scatter seeds on the ground for 5 seconds, then harvest bountiful arrays of fruits, veggies, and pipeweed. The grind to Grand Master Farmer is long and tedious. It used to be pretty danged expensive, but that’s been toned down somewhat. Growing fields of produce is relatively cheap (under one silver piece per field, and that’s for a Master using the special soils — Lorien or Rivendell). It takes a while, as does processing the produce into usable product. Once you Master a tier, you can add three special soils to the mix to massively ramp up your harvest, and the time saved is worth far more than the cost of the soils. You can sell some foods pretty well to cooks who’d prefer not to toil out in the backyard for their ingredients (or for those poor Tinkers who just can’t farm anyway). Pipeweed is of more limited value, as it adds an (admittedly amusing) visual effect, but nothing else that can’t be more-or-less simulated with the /smoke emote. All in all, though, farming is a stress-free kind of crafting/harvesting. Being a harvesting-oriented profession, there are no tier quests gating your progression, so it’s only a question of devoting the hours it takes to grow your foods. Fortunately, all of your ingredients (aside from some of the cross-breed pipeweed) can be purchased from your Novice and Expert Farmhand NPCs. (And for those of you who haven’t gotten there yet, remember thatyour Expert and Superior Farmland is in the north of Hobbiton. Good excuse to visit the Green Dragon for a pint!)
Cooking is another profession that feels lower-impact. Your ingredients come either from farmers, or from Novice or Expert Cooks. (Again, beginners take note: The Expert Cook and Superior Oven are in Michel Delving, south of the stables.) Since this is a production profession, there is a quest for advancement at each tier (except for Master). The quests aren’t too bad, at least for the first time. The Superior Oven access quest involves quite a bit of travel and cooking, as you rove about the Shire providing those lazy, fat hobbits with all manner of food items from throughout the first four tiers. Food, being a consumable, is quite useful in LotRO. I’ve often found (particularly when soloing) that if an encounter is on the edge of manageable, a good Perfect Pie (or other “Morale Recharge Food”) can turn the tide. Furthermore, there are two general types of food: Cooked Food provides Morale and/or Power regeneration both in and out of combat, while Trail Food provides a boost to Might, Vitality, or Agility. Both buffs can be in place simultaneously. And while I don’t want to give away my exact secrets, I will admit that I’m actually turning a pretty respectable profit with certain food items that are in pretty decent demand from the upper tier. However, be warned — the grind to Mastery will take a pretty hefty chunk of change from your pocket.
While I feel for the plight of those with production professions — so much so that I’ve completely neglected my own Tailoring, as it’s just not of much value — it’s certainly possible to fill a niche in LotRO by crafting. Specifically, the provision of consumable items is an area within which there is room for fun and for profit. Sadly, now that I’ve checked off the “master cooking” box from my own LotRO checklist, there’s that much less to wrangle with in the game, for me. Still, providing foodstuffs for the guild at least helps me pretend to be valuable to my fellow players. In the final analysis, I’d recommend both farming and cooking as “relatively fun” crafting professions. Gathering without the gathering, and possibility for reasonable profit awaits!