The Mirkwood expansion add the Skirmish feature to Lord of the Rings Online. Even if you haven’t bought the Mirkwood expansion, you can take part in Skirmishes, although you are limited to a number of skirmishes per week without the expansion. This is an introduction to what Skirmishes are, and how you join them. We’ll deal with other aspects of skirmishing in further tips.
Firstly, you’ll spot that there are now Skirmish camps around Middle earth – the first you might encounter is in Bree. In these are Skirmish Captains and Trainers. These two allow you to manage the NPC ally you can summon in a Skirmish.
The Skirmish Captain is also the person who will help you start skirmishing. When you hit level 20, you will receive a letter than has a quest starting item attached. This sends you to a captain (any Skirmish captain will do, not just Bree), who will ask you to collect some trophies. These drop off most humanoid mobs – goblins, orcs, etc – as long as they are of any level that awards you XP. In other words, light grey ones that ignore your character will not drop them.
If your experience is anything like ours on five separate characters, you’ll find that the first ten or so mobs won’t drop and then they will all come in one glut. When you have ten, don’t go running back to the captain. Carry on killing until you get the “Orders” – the quest updates its requirements and it’s easy to miss it.
Once, you’ve got everything, head back to the Captain and he’ll send you off to your first 2 skirmishes, which are tutorials. I’ll not go through them here because they are really simple. Basically a skirmish an instance that you can call up and jump into at any time (not in combat), so you can decide to skirmish anywhere.
It’s tempting to go to Skirmish camps before you start, and while this means you’ll be able to train your ally when you finish, it’s actually a better idea to enter the skirmish next to a shop, so that you can repair the damage to your gear from defeats. Again, our experience was that you will get quite beaten up when in skirmishes. You can only map out of a Skirmish (or use Class travel skills) if you are in a fellowship. Map out in Solo mode, and the instance cancels.
UPDATE: Patch 1 for Siege of Mirkwood says that it reduces the damage done to gear by defeat in a skirmish.
The good news is that a defeat in a Skirmish doesn’t add Dread. Instead, you get Shame of Defeat, which reduces (by 10% on first defeat) the amount of Skirmish Marks you get awarded for completing stages, and then the entire, Skirmish. This takes an hour to wear off, and it stacks, so if you’re defeated twice, it increases to -12.5%, etc, and the timer resets to an hour.
You get additional skirmishes to take part in every five levels, so 35, 40, etc.
When you start a Skirmish, you can set the type you want to play. If you are in a fellowship, you will need to exit to play a solo skirmish. If you want to play a small fellowship skirmish, group up first, etc. Incidentally, small fellowship skirmishes are scaled for 3 players – try going in with less and you will struggle.
You can also set difficulty – Tier 1 is normal, Tier 2 is harder (much), etc.
Lastly, you can change the level. By default it is always set to your own current level, but you can drop it, which is useful if some of the member of your fellowship are of a lower level.
Lowering the level drops the amount of skirmish marks you will earn, while increasing the Tier increases them.
That’s a brief introduction, so here’s the magic control: Ctrl+J will call up the Join Skirmish control so you can launch a skirmish. The tutorial skirmishes are started by talking to the quest giver, but all further skirmishes are done by launching your own. Enjoy!
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