Monday, July 13, 2020

Learning LOTRO: Lesson Twenty-One - Player Music

In this series, I talk about various aspects of The Lord of the Rings Online. This series is meant for newcomers, but may also help veteran players find more to love about the game.

If you thought music in The Lord of the Rings Online was only for NPCs and Minstrels, you are sadly mistaken! Not only can ALL players make music in the game, but there are plugins available so you can make music as a group with other players. In this entry, I'll be talking about what Player Music is, how you do it, and point you to references to help you on your way to fame as a musician in Middle-earth.

"All The (Game) World's a Stage"

You may have noticed in your character skills that there are Passive ones saying you can play a few instruments. If you haven't, you can go take a look for yourself. Different classes are able to play different instruments automatically, as noted here by the LOTRO wiki: 

But before I go any further with this, I need to confess something: I don't like Player Music. For me, personally, it absolutely ruins my immersion in the game to ride through Bree and see a group dressed the same, swaying to their slightly off-key "Eye of the Tiger." I immediately cringe and try to get as far away as possible. For the most part, I usually have Player Music muted entirely to avoid this. If you're like me, this is where you can do that:

However, I do admit that a LOT of players enjoy and participate in Player Music, and that's why I'm covering it as part of the Learning LOTRO series. I can't only write about the parts that I like if I want to claim to share all of the basics, after all! Just this weekend as I'm writing this, there's a huge event happening on the Landroval server called Weatherstock. Players flock together, there's a list of performing groups at specific times, and general merriment is had. If that sounds more like your thing, you can read up on it here: Weatherstock Concert Series.

July 12, 2020 - Bree Fairgrounds (Weatherstock Concert Series)

Learning An Instrument

If you are a Minstrel, congratulations! You are able to play all of the instruments in LOTRO! You may not be able to play them all from the start, however. If notice in that table above, some instruments cannot be learned until you reach specific levels. On the plus side, this means you're in high demand for other class types who are wanting to learn instruments other than the ones they have automatic access to. As mentioned in the entry about the Minstrel class last week, you have the ability to either Mentor others or use your Scribe Stance to make a consumable item that teaches others how to play specific instruments. There's a cooldown for either skill, so be sure to use them wisely!

If you are not a Minstrel, don't be sad. It's as simple as finding a Minstrel willing to Mentor you, or finding a Scribed Tome to learn the skill from. Aside from that, just visit a Bard and buy the instrument you want to play. (I recommend the one inside The Prancing Pony in Bree as he's fairly easy to find and get to.) Once you do those things, you're ready to make some music!

Making Noise

It's as simple as typing /music to switch into your musicianship mode. Once you're in it, you use various keystrokes to play specific notes. To stop, you simply type /music off. Pretty simple, right? Sort of. If manually making music isn't your thing, and you haven't played an instrument since the elementary school recorder and making your mom proud of your 'Hot Cross Buns,' then keep reading!

The ABC-System

This is the system LOTRO uses to let players play saved .abc music files without having to manually press each note on their keyboard. There's a lot of existing music available for you to download, or you can even make your own .abc files. For directions on usage of this system, since I haven't personally used it, you can reference the LOTRO wiki's info. The use of these files also allows groups of people to play together in sync with one another (for better or worse).

The sad fact about the LOTRO wiki is that a lot of links are outdated because the game has been around for over a decade. None of the links they provide on the Player Music page will take you to a site that will give you some song files to download. You'll have to do some Googling on your own, or find a band on your server and get some recommendations. I'd hate to refer you to any links I've found and discover I've led you astray!

However, here are a couple plug-ins that I know groups to be using recently: Maestro, Poetical, BandAide. Find an active musician in-game for better suggestions than that!

Change My Mind

Do you absolutely LOVE Player Music? Are you in a band? I'd love it if you shared recordings or invited me to a concert to prove to me that it's more than I am giving it credit for. (Fair warning: I started playing an instrument at the age of 7 and minored in Instrumental Music in college!) I'd love to find a group to cheer on that doesn't break my immersion or at least helps me have a better understanding of what other players find so great about it. Comment here, Twitter, Facebook... wherever you wish! You can also drop me an e-mail: Gamer Reverie

Was this entry helpful? Let me know! The series continues next Monday!

There's NEW LOTRO content coming this month alongside the Art Postcard promotion! If you play LOTRO, consider joining The Fellowship on Patreon for as little as $2!

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