The slow and steady treasure hunter

The Buried Treasure event has returned this week and should be staying for at least a few days this time. Last we heard of this event, Turbine gave us a two-hour live preview back in December after the release of Update 5. Many European players felt left out because it started rather late at night for them, but this time around, the event should be on long enough for most people to try their hand at hunting for treasure. And if you don’t get a chance to participate in this event, Turbine says they’ll be bringing the event back from time to time throughout the year.

I’m not going to go into details on how the event works and the rewards you can receive – does a pretty good job of that already so read through that first for a crash course on the event. I’ll just share my slow and steady approach to treasure hunting to ensure yourself a healthy supply of treasure-hunter’s picks and getting lots of loot. The key to this strategy focuses on saving your picks by using lots of dowsing gems and cave-claws, however, your success rate may vary depending on the amount of fellow treasure hunters competing for the same treasure caches; more treasure hunters means a higher turnover rate on rounds which means your dowsing gems and cave-claws aren’t being used as effectively.

Using these diagnosis tools will tell you exactly what size lode lies beneath each node. The huge treasure caches contain the best rewards (like mounts), but there’s only one of them per round. Your best bet then is to seek out the large and medium caches and skip the small ones. You can barter the buried treasure tokens you find in these caches to replenish your stash of dowsing gems and cave-claws. You should think twice before digging up a treasure without first checking its size, that is, unless you’re feeling lucky. To use a dowsing gem, you first must select a suitable dig-site, preferably one you haven’t already checked before, then use the dowsing gem to check the cache size. Cave-claws work in the same manner except they do not require a dig-site to be selected. Instead, the cave-claw will sniff out nearby treasure, and tell you what lies underneath a particular dig-site. If you release your cave-claw near multiple dig-sites, it will usually skip the small ones in favor of the big ones.

When I arrive at the buried treasure field in the middle of a round, I usually take a quick look around the field and find a good spot where no one has been digging. I like to start off each round with a few cave-claws in spots near loads of nodes, then follow up with some dowsing gems on the dig-sites that were out of reach of my cave-claws. I usually only dig up the the large and huge caches I find keeping an eye on how many treasure-hunter’s picks I have left, but if I need the tokens, I’ll dig up medium caches as well. As the round moves on and more nodes have been dug up, I’ll ride around and check for areas that haven’t been searched, and I’ll use another cave-claw to see if it will track down the huge treasure cache. When the round is over, you can start over and find more treasure caches.

At the outset, it would seem cave-claws are much better at finding big treasure than dowsing gems, but they cost five times as much at the barterer. A cave-claw will almost guarantee you a medium, large or huge treasure cache if there’s one nearby, but with five dowsing gems it’s very possible you’ll find more than that …or less, depending on your luck. Despite this, I tend to stick with cave-claws exclusively, but I’ll use any dowsing gems I happen to dig up.

Some tips for maximizing your treasure hunting:

  • Keep a timer nearby (or a plugin) so you know when you can do those 15-minute repeatable quests for more picks, gems and cave-claws.
  • Remember which dig-sites are small treasure caches so you don’t waste another gem or cave-claw on it. All the dig-sites are reset and randomized when the round is over so clear your memory, start again and try not to get too confused.
  • Keep an eye on your fellow treasure hunters and remember which dig-sites they bypass. They’re most likely small treasure caches.
  • Release your cave-claws in an open space with lots of nodes around. Move away from dig-sites you’ve already used your dowsing gems on or the cave-claw might run to those and you’ve wasted a precious cave-claw.
  • Watch your cave-claw carefully as you release it; it will usually bypass the smaller dig-sites in favor of the big ones. If it tracks down a small dig-site, then you know you’re looking in wrong location.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn in your Buried Treasure Tokens for more cave-claw cages. You’ll probably earn enough tokens to pay back your investment.
  • Consider alternating between two or three characters to make sure you have a continuing source of Treasure-hunter picks by doing the repeatable quests.
  • Most of the rewards are “bind to account” meaning that you can share them between your own characters using shared storage or the wardrobe. However, mounts are currently “bind on acquire” and not tradable.

Your success as a treasure hunter depends heavily on luck. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get that item you really want before the event is over; the event will be back. Keep your eyes on the forums and LOTRO’s official Twitter for announcements of this variety and soon you, too, will be riding through the Great River on a Jackpot Goat carelessly shedding coins or frightening the Hobbit-folk with your Masked Cave-claw Horse.


3 thoughts on “The slow and steady treasure hunter

  1. This is a great guide. Hopefully the event will return and I can use this advice from the start. After I began to use your strategies I got my Treasure Laden Goat, and the inspectgem emote! Before that, all I was getting was dirt !


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