If you’re a new LOTRO player or returning from a lengthy game break you may have found yourself wondering which server should I choose to play on? Hopefully we can help narrow down your decisions here with information about Lord of the Rings Online servers.
All of LOTRO’s servers are physically located in the eastern United States with each server offering a recommended server region to help players decide on the best location for their time zone.
What is the difference between a regular LOTRO server and Legendary servers?
Regular servers are currently at the highest level 140 with all content available to any player as a Free-to-Play or VIP. You might choose a regular server if you wish to play the game at its full potential across all of Middle-earth at your own pace.
The Legendary servers are progression-based with game content released at a slower pace than regular servers. The Legendary servers each have their own content release schedule which is detailed in the Legendary section below.
The Legendary server is accessible if you are a VIP monthly subscriber or Lifetime subscriber. If you prefer to experience the games content in an at-level cap, with a slower release of the stories for both casual and end-game, then a Legendary server might answer your call to adventure.
Arkenstone – US
One of the most populated servers is Arkenstone with players from the US and all over the world. This server has many Kinships that focus on casual and end-game content. If you are in the Asian/Oceanic time zone you may consider Arkenstone as it is well populated in peak hours.
One of Middle-earths most treasured relics the Arkenstone was hoarded for more than 150 years by the dragon Smaug, that is until the burglar Bilbo Baggins found it. It was placed within the tomb of Thorin Oakenshield in the Lonely Mountain.
Brandywine – US
With a similar population as Arkenstone, sometimes Brandywine trades places with Arkenstone in terms of active users. This is a great choice for US players that want to experience the game with a lively community and active fellowships.
If you’ve ever crossed the bridge from the Shire headed to Bree-land this is the Brandywine River also known as the Baranduin.
Crickhollow – US
Crickhollow is a US server with a lower population than Arkenstone, Gladden, and Brandywine. The server is known for being helpful and friendly, with community activities like bands playing on the weekends. The server’s name Crickhollow is after the home Frodo Baggins purchased in Buckland.
Gladden – US
Another US server with a higher population is Gladden, its community is known to be helpful and friendly. Gladden receives its name from the Gladden Fields of where Sméagol (aka Gollum) and Déagol were from. This is where King Isildur was ambushed and killed by Orcs resulting in the loss of the One Ring that fell into the river of Anduin.
Landroval – US-RE
If you are looking for a role-play encouraged server Landroval has a healthy population and an active helpful social community, in-game player hosted concerts and RP events. While Landroval is tagged as a RP encouraged server there are all types of players, this is a good choice for a casual player who wants to experience the game at their own pace and there are plenty of active fellowships looking for groups.
One of the Great Eagles, Landroval is a descendant of Thorondor, King of the Great Eagles. The name is Sindarin and means “Broad Wing.”
Evernight – EU-EN
Currently the most populated European server is Evernight with English as its primary language. The Evernight server has a robust community for casual and end-game content with plenty of Kinships to choose from. If you’re looking for character progression and end-game you will find more players here for that content.
The “Song of Eärendil” written by Bilbo Baggins mentions a dark, shadow-filled region in the Great Sea known as Evernight.
Laurelin – EU-RP
Laurelin is the Europe role play server with an active RP community, here you will not have a hard time finding people to spontaneously RP with. The community of Laurelin is known to be friendly and helpful with a focus on role-play, they also host regular RP events. When creating a character on Laurelin you want to stick with lore appropriate names. Laurelin is said to mean “Song of Gold” and was the younger of the two trees created by Vala Yavanna in Ezellohar.
Belegaer – DE-RP
Belegaer is the German RP server, here you will find a Deutsch language server with a lower population than Laurelin. West of Middle-earth lay the Great Sea, Belegaer.
Gwaihir – DE
The German speaking server Gwaihir has a focus on casual and end-game content, this is a lower population server than Evernight. One of the Great Eagles, Gwaihir the Windlord is always there when Gandalf and his companions need help.
Sirannon – FR
Sirannon is the French server with a lower population, this is a great choice for French speaking players who would like to experience the game at a casual pace. Sirannon was a river that flowed about one-hundred miles in length near the West side of Moria.
The Legendary servers are Treebeard which launched in June of 2021. On Treebeard you can change the landscape difficulty between Normal and Deadly +6, this setting increases the challenge of enemies you’ll face on the landscape. To start or change the difficulty at any time speak with Berthadan in Bree (and other starting areas), he’s standing near the Prancing Pony Inn.
While set to any Deadly difficulties you will experience additional dangers in the open world landscape areas in the form of “Eye of Sauron” effects. When the Eye of Sauron is upon you, a warning red square will appear below your feet around your character, if you remain in the square you will be damaged by shadowy fire. You can avoid the damage if you get out of the area before the effect is cast.
Monsters on Deadly landscape can also have random enrage effects that cause them to deal more damage, take less damage, run faster, and become immune to CC, these effects can be seen as a buff on the target or by a shield/aura. This can be cleansed off with your characters ability for corruption cleanse.
Treebeard is a Legendary server with a slower pace and has an experience reduction while leveling, expansions are released on Treebeard approximately 6 months and it is currently in Rohan and Wildermore at level cap 85.
Treebeard expansion release dates are:
- Helms Deep (level cap 95) – December 6, 2023.
Retired Legendary Servers
Shadowfax reached level-cap on May 3, 2023 and retired August 31, 2023.
The first Legendary server launched in 2018 was Anor and retired on August 31, 2022.
Ithil was a Legendary server that was originally opened after all the excitement of the first Anor, Ithil closed down in 2021.
LOTRO Server Populations
While the LOTRO developers at Standing Stone Games are in the know of how the population stands per server we can make a general estimation based on the communities that are active there. In addition, the Lotrostats fan-site displays daily graphs of logins for each server.
The MMO-Population website ranks LOTRO as the 32nd most populated MMO out of 140 games. They estimate Lord of the Rings Online to have a 3.2 million player base and their daily login numbers to be around 30,000 based on a variety of factors.
Lost Characters and Unable to Transfer Servers
If you recently returned to LOTRO and cannot locate your characters from pre-2016 this may be from the server merge that took place in 2015.
You can press the Transfer button on the LOTRO Launcher, here you should see a list of all characters, and if you try to transfer one of the older characters that were on a server that no longer exists you will get presented with a copy only option to Bullroar or Palantir (these are beta servers).
Unfortunately, the transfer tool from a deleted server is not available at this time and has been broken on and off for years. The devs are aware of the issue and have mentioned it is on their list for a future fix.
Bullroarer is the Beta preview server which is only open when LOTRO devs are offering testing of new or updated content. Bullroarer when it is active is open to all players to test and report bugs & feedback.
Palantir is another test server that select players and testers have access to, Palantir requires a sign up and NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).
The test servers are accessed via a separate LOTRO Preview client which must be downloaded and installed.
When I returned to LOTRO I found my original characters lost in limbo, I didn’t heed the call to act when the servers were merged so I found myself asking many of the same questions you have, where do I start? When deciding between a Regular and Legendary server here are some suggestions.
As a new player, or returning and you haven’t decided whether you want to play the game at the VIP monthly subscription try the regular servers which are open to Free-to-Play and get a feel for the game. Find a server in your region and hop into the adventure.
At some point, if you want to remove the F2P limitations, such as increase number of characters, gold cap, etc. it is a good value to unlock this by going VIP for at least one month to advance your account to Premium.
If you want to experience the game as content is released slowly over a set schedule, then the Legendary servers may be for you. They offers unique rewards, some are account-wide, for completing Legendary Server Deeds.
If you are looking for a slower paced leveling experience you can pause XP with the purchase of an Experience Disabler also known as the Stone of the Tortoise from the LOTRO Store at 150 points. This per character item is equipped in your pocket slot and pauses all experience gained while you have it equipped.
Playing the game on regular live servers will give access to everything, and you can experience all the older content. On the regular LOTRO servers there is nothing holding you back from access to content except for your level and when you decide to dive into the games many expansions.
I hope this guide to the servers can help you decide where to start and remember a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Happy adventures!
Additional LOTRO Resources:
- New Player Guide to LOTRO
- Which Class Should You Play In LOTRO
- Festival Events Calendar for LOTRO
- LOTRO Crafting Guide to Professions
- How To Learn Riding & Get A Mount In LOTRO
- LOTRO Expansions In Order
This article was originally posted on September 9, 2021 and has been updated.