Interdependence in LotRO: Professions and Vocations

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Being an MMORPG, you'd think that Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO) would have the typical crafting system found in most other MMORPGs: Choose which Profession you'd like to focus on, toss some LotRO gold to an NPC to teach you that Profession, work on increasing your Profession's level by crafting items using materials, and sell the items for more LotRO gold. When you start playing LotRO, however, you'll realize that it's not that straightforward at all.

Crafting in LotRO involves you choosing a Vocation, which is essentially a set of three crafting Professions: a primary Production Profession, a supporting Gathering Profession, and an unsupported Production Profession (note that you can't choose which Professions to specialize in - it all depends on which Vocation you chose). All those terms may confuse you at first, but it's a simple enough system. For example: the Explorer Vocation requires you to have knowledge in the Forester (Production), Prospector (Gathering), and Tailor (Production) Professions. The Prospector Profession "supports" your Forester Profession by allowing you to gather the materials that you need to craft items as a Forester. This means that your Tailor Profession is "unsupported" because it lacks a Gathering Profession that provides materials for it.

Once you've chosen a Vocation, you can start working on increasing the level of the Professions that fall under that Vocation. There are five levels for each Profession (Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, Artisan, and Master), with each level containing two "proficiencies" ("Proficient" and "Master"). You need to craft items and gather materials in order to gain experience points for your professions. This will be simple enough for your Primary Production Profession since you'll be gathering the materials you need for it using your Gathering profession. It will, however, prove to be more difficult for your "unsupported" Production Profession since you don't have the means to gather the materials for it yourself - you'll need to call in favors from your crafter friends or spend LotRO gold to purchase the materials from other players.

The interdependence between the various Vocations and Professions may seem to be a trivial (and possibly annoying) addition to LotRO, but this system will help further the development of the crafting community by promoting cooperation between crafters. Remember to help your fellow crafters out, and they'll probably help you in return. Who knows, perhaps forming crafting partnerships will help you level up your professions faster and rake in greater amounts of LotRO gold.

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Chris Coker is a freelance writer and avid gamer. He has written on all aspects of the MMO industry, focusing on his latest favorite, Star Trek Online. Check out some of his posts where he dishes out everything from ship interiors to energy credits to good old-fashioned grinding.

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