It's a quiet week around these here parts, what with the Thanksgiving holiday in NA and the lull before the November Update hits on the 29th. As such, I thought it'd be a great time to catch up on the current state of the community, especially as we've seen so many new bloggers and sites and podcasts arrive on the scene in the past year.

I've always said that Lord of the Rings Online is truly blessed with not just a stellar community but an active one as well. Some MMOs see very little in the way of fan-created sites, keeping most of the community action centered on official forums and the like. However, when it comes to LotRO, we have not only the MyLotro.com blogs set up by Turbine, but a cornucopia of web delights fashioned by hard-working players.

So to say "Thanks!" to this wonderful community, today I want to highlight some of the best LotRO resource websites, blogs and podcasts that consistently go above and beyond in making our slice of the MMO landscape a delight to visit.

Official and resource sites

  • BergZerg -- Apart from being a news aggregator, BergZerg offers a handful of supremely useful tools, such as a virtue calculator and a list of all the Warden's gambits.
  • Darzil's LoTRO Crafting Guide -- Head on over to this site when you want to see what stuff looks like when it's created, particularly if visuals are important to you.
  • The Fat Lute -- If you're interested in LotRO's awesome music system and want to get the most out of it, The Fat Lute is the #1 place to go. Not only will it help you figure out how to get started, but the site contains a massive amount of pre-programmed songs for you to save and use in game.
  • Lord of the Rings Online Dynamic Map -- An insanely annotated map of all the zones and features.
  • Lotro Fishing -- Do you fish in LotRO? Do you wanna? It doesn't get more fishy than this site!
  • Lotro Gear -- As you can figure out from the name, Lotro Gear is dedicated to compiling a database of all the armor and weapons of the game with a helpful search function.
  • LoTROInterface -- Tweak your visuals and snag some of the hottest LUA plugins to beef up your user interface!
  • LOTRO Life -- While it does devote a fair share of time to news regurgitation, LOTRO Life has a lot of terrific guides and resources depending on your need.
  • Lotro-Wiki.com -- As with all wikis, Lotro-Wiki.com is hit or miss depending on how much effort the community's put into each section. There's a lot of helpful info here, and I'm often finding myself flipping through the wiki when doing my research.
  • Lord of the Rings Online US -- Includes the Lorebook, MyLotro and community forums.
  • Lord of the Rings Online EU -- Last time I checked, the Codemasters site and forums kept redirecting to the U.S. one. Hm.
  • Mmorsel -- Over the past few months, Mmorsel has quickly become one of the premier go-to sites for helpful guides, charts and FAQs. F2P players should definitely check out the TP Finder to help stock up on those free Turbine Points! As the cherry on the sundae, it has an attractive and easy-to-navigate design.
Podcasts

  • A Casual Stroll to Mordor -- The CStM crew comes out with a lengthy (1-2 hours) podcast every week, which typically discusses the news and hot topics. Don't miss out on its class roundtables, in which experienced players are invited to jaw about how to understand and effectively play that role.
  • LOTRO Academy -- The Academy is dedicated to instructing newbies in the game about all its aspects. Great stuff!
  • LOTROCast -- Another solid group podcast that covers a wide variety of topics. Once in a while, the team busts out LoreCast, a spin-off show that focuses on the lore of Middle-earth.
  • LotroWorld -- Guests, roundtables and meaty discussions are all par for the course here. This was an older podcast that took a break and came back stronger than ever!
  • LOTRO Reporter -- One of the longest running podcasts, you're sure to find great discussions about the topics du jour. That's Hobbit-speak for "of the day."
  • The One True Cast
  • Through the Palantír-- A newer podcast, Through the Palantír focuses more on hardcore activities in LotRO, such as raiding and PvMP. The episodes are slow in coming but always worth a listen when they arrive.
Fan sites and blogs

  • Berath's Brain Burps -- First of all, totally love the title! BBB is an EU player who writes about a smattering of LotRO topics. He also has an official poet on hand, which isn't something you often see on blogs.
  • Breg's Wanderings
  • The Breeland Times -- The Times is a professionally produced ezine that covers the lore and events of LotRO. So far there have been three editions, each occurring monthly.
  • A Casual Stroll to Mordor -- A husband-and-wife duo are at the head of a team of writers who contribute to one of the most diverse and informative LotRO blogs on the net. Check them out for detailed guides and "for fun" LotRO-related topics, such as creating the foods and outfits from the game in real life.
  • Doc Holiday's LOTRO Blog -- Doc Holiday is one of the bigger names in the LotRO community, and he's always on hand for excellent class guides (especially for the Warden) and helpful advice.
  • Drums in the Deep -- A general-purpose LotRO blog that happens to have a wicked cool name.
  • Harperella's Harrowing Tales -- Harperella heads up the popular weekly Ales & Tales music and storytelling night, which you can follow through her MyLotro.com blog.
  • TheKhazadGuard's Blog -- See Middle-earth through a stubborn and short point of view -- a Dwarf's, in other words.
  • Linett's Lore -- A player and a teacher who takes copious notes about the places she visits in game.
  • LOTRO Chronicles -- Kairos takes us on a tour of his thoughts of the game, including the sense of scale and realism of the world.
  • LOTRO Reporter -- This website shook me all night long, for sure. LOTRO Reporter is a multi-blogger project to cover the news of the day and share guides and experiences.
  • Lotro Weekly -- I'm always impressed with the quality of the writing and presentation on this blog, not to mention the enthusiasm behind it!
  • The Pesky Dwarf Preservation Society -- Seriously, how awesome is that title? So awesome, it made me weep.
  • The Pix'led Life -- A highly opinionated blog, although that's certainly not a bad thing!
  • Raising the Shire -- Here, the author's adventures in the game are told as a story and are quite entertaining at that.
  • Roll One Hundred -- Xhii, a LotRO player from Finland, provides a blog lush with graphics and info.
  • Seolferwulf -- As part of a "LotRO immersion project," Seolferwulf the Hobbit is detailing her journey through Middle-earth completely in character.
  • Staff Strike -- A LotRO blog dedicated to Lore-masters and their big honking sticks of wood.
  • Tales from the Great Barrow -- This is another blog penned by a LotRO EU player about his thoughts about the game.
  • Wandering Through Middle-earth -- If travelers in Middle-earth had access to digital cameras, I suspect their blogs would look a lot like this one!
Of course, that's not all...

The problem with making a list like this is that I run the very real and truly terrifying risk of excluding someone. I did try to link as many sites and blogs that I knew about (although I left out a few that have recently stated they're closing down), but I'm sure I've missed a few.

So here's my promise to you: If I've missed a LotRO website, podcast or blog, please put a link to it in the comments section and I'll make sure to revise this post in order to make it as comprehensive as possible. Thanks!

When not enjoying second breakfast and a pint of ale, Justin "Syp" Olivetti jaws about hobbits in his Lord of the Rings Online column, The Road to Mordor. You can contact him via email at justin@massively.com or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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