Thursday, 4 April 2013

LOTRO: A tourist guide to Hytbold

I suspect most people in LotRO nowadays spend their time on the new raid and other instances. The times of grinding dailies to get armour sets is (finally?) over, and existing Hytbold allergies might have worn off. Time to look at Hytbold from another perspective: that of the curious tourist!

Not a pretty sight

This is what Hytbold looks like the first time you encounter it: not a pretty sight. That's why the clueless tourist will need this guide to show what it could look like. For a change we players can do something about the state of our environment: we can rebuild the town! Although rebuilding parts of it unlocks armour pieces for your character, my personal reason for rebuilding was lorewise. I just couldn't stand the sad sight while I knew there was something to be done about it. I was also curious at how they visualized features of the town. I will show you in this post.

Eventually I rebuilt the whole thing, even though this wasn't of any use to my characters (I already collected a lore-master set, the captain sets are underwhelming). 

The lumber mill

Rebuilding Hytbold includes the opportunity to build community shared buildings, like the lumber mill above. The mill resembles historical sawmills, such as the mill near Ashborough depicted in the late 19th century photo to the right.

(If you are interested in the construction of these mills, Sash Sawmill in the history blog Notes on the History of Randolph Country gives a great deal of information.)

Farms and windmills

Each Rohirric clan has their own area in Hytbold, a nice invention of the game designers. Every larger settlement will have had their own neighbourhoods, even though most times not as obviously divided as in Hytbold.

On the picture you see the farmsteads of the Sutcrofts, with as special feature the windmill. While water mills (initially of different types than shown before) were already built in Europe since the Roman Empire, the wind mill slowly came into use around 1000 AD. First in modest wooden forms, later in larger and more complicated forms. The mill in the Norcrofts district with has its interesting combination of wood and stone in common with the existing moulin chandelier type. The difference is, this type has the stone at the bottom and the wood at the top - a more logical solution than the mills in Hytbold, where the wood carries the much heavier stone, if you ask me. Oops.

To the right a 1967 picture of the rare moulin chandelier (source: As you can see, the stone part could take the form of a tower, although reconstructions often show a square bottom part as in Hytbold.

Behold my bane of Middle-earth: corn! This evil plant can also be found at the Hytbold farms. I propose stopping there a moment when passing by to curse in general chat.

Corn originates from Central-America, and was first brought to Europe with Columbus at the end of the 15th century. It is an exotic plant in Europe, and I was very shocked when I first saw the hobbits in the Fellowship of the Ring movie run through a field of corn. It's no secret that Tolkien based Middle-earth on the medieval period of Europe, and seeing corn is immersion-breaking for me.

This is probably just the plant nerd in me freaking out, but I get upset by these things!

Camps & Factions

Hytbold is divided into different areas, each with their own watchtowers, houses and tents for refugees. Although the people living in the camps must've gone through difficult times they make the best of it, as you see in the picture above. This cute game design was an incentive for me to do the dailies: each time I could rebuild a little more, giving more refugees a new home.

Wold banner
Sutcrofts banner
Norcrofts banner
Entwash banner
Each neighbourhood is inhabited by refugees from a different part of the Eastemnet, each with their own banner and colours. This reminds me of late medieval guilds, which often had their own place in town as well. After all, each region in the Eastemnet has their own speciality: e.g. the Norcrofts are good at farming, the Wold focus on defence and Snowbourn/the Sutcrofts on offence. I thought it was a cool choice of the developers to reflect this in this way in Hytbold.

Hytbold also features a lot of cute horses. Awww.

In the the town's main stable many rare horses are found, such as the Steed of the Minstrel, the Steed of the Eastemnet and the Steed of the Kundolar. But I mainly wanted to get this picture with the cute horse in. Again: awww.

I like the general cosy look of Hytbold, as seen above. The small white stone walls look a bit off, though. Why make those little walls like that while the rest of the town is made of wood? It gives the impression of rather a Roman than a medieval town, and the 'romantic' cultivated pink roses... hmm. I sorted of wish I had left them burned.

Daily quests

The largest attraction of Hytbold on players is its (notorious?) daily quest which is bestowed in front of the meadhall. Each player of level 84 or higher can pick up this quest, allowing them to complete a total of 5 repeatable quests in any of Rohan's major hubs. The quests reward with coins and reputation which you can then use to restore parts of the town. I actually liked these quests at the start: there are many to choose from and they have varying setups. In the end, it becomes a grind, though. You just need to do so many quests, it requires 40 days of completing the daily wrapper if you want to restore everything (15 if you want to spend real money on it). For lore fans it's definitely worth to completely rebuild the town on at least one character, though: apart from being able to see all aspects of Hytbold restored, doing so will in addition open up a quest bringing a conclusion to the stories of the towns of the Eastemnet. I thought it was pretty cool when I got there.

More in a Tourist guide to Rohan


  1. You are a corn-y nerd. lol! How can you not like the corn stalks that are as tall as trees??

    I had to go look around, but that steed you posted is not a horse you can own! Do you know if he is wearing a cosmetic-only caparison? or, does its outfit not exist to players?

    Great article!

    1. I'm so happy you like it, it was a lot of research!

      Corny... GRRRR. xD

      There are several (NPC) horses with cosmetics that aren't available to players. I've noticed these since the Rise of Isengard expansion: many Rohirrim ride them during the assault on Isengard instance and I saw some in Stangard too. No doubt there are more hidden around in other towns.

    2. Actually, I think that picture shows the green-clad horse of the gap which came with some versions of Rise of Isengard. I only remember that because, when I finally got to that quest, I thought it was cool that I could mount up and match the rest of the riders (albeit on a pony instead of a horse).

    3. Good call Joe! The one Ravanel links in the comment is a Green-clad horse of the gap. The one in the article is something different. :)

      Ravanel, you do realize that I will have to go hunting in Stangard to look for any unknown horses now. lol! ...and I'm going to have to try to find that distinctive pattern from the above picture in your article. :D

    4. Hi Joe, and thanks so much for your comment!

      On the picture I linked there are two horses that are not the Green-clad horse of the Gap that I was referring too: the light one to the left with the brown-and-green saddle and the dark brown one in the middle with the green coat. Perhaps you or Danania-the-horse-whisperer do recognize them? I thought it was cool too Joe, that some were riding 'my' Green-clad horse, as you can see my character in the middle sitting on it herself! (It's my captain Ravenwyn with the red-brown hair). :D

  2. Argh, Hytbold. That was the only reason I kept logging on to Lotro - I told myself that I mustmustmust finish rebuilding and the conclusion quest before I could finally take a break from the game for a while (same with SWTOR and finishing Chapter 3 and Corellia). Glad to see you got some enjoyment out of the cosmetic changes in the rebuilding process! When I finished, I thought..."Hmm. I should have taken pictures of each area as it was improved, at least for the wiki."

    But no way am I doing that again if I don't have to. :-P Hopefully they'll make it a little less painful to rebuild once it's not so new anymore - 44 days is brutal, heh.

    1. Daniel, 15 days and some mithril coins. ;)

      (Please forgive my tossing links into your comments Ravanel. :) )

    2. Whoah - I had no idea the daily could be reset like that. I will definitely bear this in mind should I ever find my way near Hytbold again with a new character. Thank you also for the brief summary of the battered rings, as well! My 85 Minstrel is still running around with Entwash Vale jewelry, I think, not being of the raiding persuasion.

    3. Don't worry Danania, useful links are always welcome! Actually, I'll link to it in the article, won't that even be better? :)

      I personally don't buy TP in the game, but it's good to know that the option is there.

    4. Oh and Dan, if you ever feel the need to add pictures of Hytbold to the wiki, you may of course use all mine if that saves you time!

      I guess I should do that myself (I'm such a lazy wiki person these days). *blush*

    5. Not to worry; I'm pretty much done with the wiki myself, too. Sad to say, I guess, especially when there are so many interesting things left to do and nerdy problems to solve, but it does get exhausting after a while dealing with everyone's complaints, right? :-P

      So we move to greener, more pleasant pastures, just like the horses!

  3. Haha, "plant nerd". It's funny when little details like that get to you! Reminds me of when I was doing a quest about some spilled chemicals in SWTOR and my questing buddy freaked out about how this imaginary chemical had the "wrong" name - because he's a chemist. XD

    1. Hahaha, that's brilliant! I freaked out in SWTOR when I found out that archaeology involves studying naturally formed crystals (I'm studying archaeology). I'm slowly getting used to the idea that most people think my profession has something to do with dinosaurs, but crystals... >.<

      I first wanted to ban the profession in total, but the economical part of me got the better of me. :S

    2. Heheh, archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, geology... It's good to know people still nerd out about their fields and feel protective of them. (I was the same way with Mass Effect 2 and Kelly Chambers, who's a psychologist/therapist.)

  4. Is it just me, or does LOTRO look really, really nice now? I don't remember it looking this nice when I played. And that wasn't too terribly long ago, to be honest.

    1. I really love the landscape of the newer areas, say from Enedwaith onwards. They are just getting better and better. Even though SWTOR is newer and has the better graphics, the LOTRO landscape strike me as more detailed and realistic from time to time.

      It really depends on your graphic card, though. I'm using Tiger's twinked pc for these pictures with all the settings on ultra high, on my own pc it doesn't look a quarter as a good.


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