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
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: fr.academic.ru). 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.
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 & FactionsHytbold 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.
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.