Adventures in hard-mode: Level cap without doing the intro

“Captain Brackenbrook! Captain Brackenbrook! The Blackwolds are attacking Archet tonight, and they’ve got help from Angmar. But don’t worry because I’ve been proactive. I swam Lake Evendim sparring with the Guaredain, ran along the Gondorian beachs Rocky style, and jungled in Ithilien (yes, all within one ‘in-game’ day) so I could come back and defend Archet from the brigands tonight.”

Brackenbrook stares vacantly. “Great. Who are you again?”


“Talk to the fist, old dude.”

Long story short, after over a year, I managed to level a character to level 105 without ever having completing the introduction quests. Along the way, I’ve learned much about how the game works, nothing super useful to the everyday player, but interesting nonetheless. Despite leveling to the cap, you will continue to wear the mark of “Newbie” in your passive skills that normally gets replaced with “Novice” so you can venture out into the world.

Playing like this is more of a hindrance, however, as many aspects of the game are restricted to those without the “Novice” trait awarded upon successful defense of Archet and Thorin’s Gate. One of the most notable is the lack of riding trait; your avatar’s calves will be thicker than tree trunks by the end. This, their travel skills, and the fact that they are awesome, is why I chose a Warden to level.

I wear the title of Newbie as a badge of honor!

Cannot access without the Novice trait

  • Cannot join fellowships or invite others to fellowships
    • Exception: you can group if both characters have not completed the intro and are in “the same instance of the world” (e.g., cannot group with someone inside pre-intro Archet if you’re off in the Low Lands)
    • Exception: you can group with others that you’re matched with through the Instance Finder)
  • Cannot join a kinship
    • Exception: you can start your own kinship
  • Cannot get the Riding trait which means no mounts
    • Exception: you can ride the slow Moria goat (it’s +32% speed unless you have the Apprentice or Journeyman riding boosts)
    • This means no mounted combat which prevents you from getting a trait point in the Broadacres
  • Cannot use a milestone
  • No reputation deeds but you can gain reputation
  • Can turn in tasks, but you won’t get the deeds
  • No auto-bestowed introduction quests (that’s a good thing)
  • Cannot complete class skill deeds on tier 1
  • Cannot complete many slayer and explorer deeds in Bree and Ered Luin
  • Cannot access the Collections panel
  • Cannot use travel maps
  • Hidden emote deeds (e.g., /cheer 100 times) don’t trigger
  • Cannot be summoned by horn or captain
    • Possibly with Guardian’s acorn (not tested by me)

Can access without the Novice trait

  • Can do skirmish tutorial and skirmishes
  • Can use legendary items/imbuement
  • Can use essence gear
  • Can use XP disabler from store
  • Can use cosmetics
  • Can use cosmetic pets
  • Can use stat tomes
  • Can do racial enmity deeds
  • Can do festivals (but no festival auto-bestowal quests (yay, no Hobnanigans maps))
  • Can do forced emote deeds (e.g., Frosty Beverage, Snow Crystal)
  • Can do craft
  • Can do epic quests (and deeds)

3 thoughts on “Adventures in hard-mode: Level cap without doing the intro

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