Although reading blog posts, wiki sites and forums can very well lead to spoilers if you’re playing game content that is pretty new (e.g. Battle for Azeroth), for the most part I find the wealth of knowledge about games a very real plus compared with the dearth of the same in earlier years of gaming – like when I started in the genre in 2007.
There’s a general disparity in what’s available based on how popular a MMORPG is – World of Warcraft beats any other game I know for the depth and variety of resources available. But other games are well covered too, including Lord of the Rings Online, which has an excellent wiki. Reading a recent post over at Contains Moderate Peril, as just one example I have learned that it is possible to buy a rather useful ‘Return to’ skill from a particular reputation vendor – a very useful tip indeed!
In LOTRO, as with many MMOs that have faction grinds, you are only likely to learn about the details of faction rewards if you stick around. So for content played while it is current or the then end-game, you may well earn enough factional reputation to grab some of the more pricey and esoteric rewards. My experience in LOTRO and other games like WoW or Rift, has been that I obtain only the rep levels I have to gain (e.g. those barring progress) and then move on. There’s always so much to do and, in levelling zones at least, you usually are ready to go on to the next zone before you have half-way maxed the local reputation faction.
I do remember posting about this for Everquest 2 actually, as way back when I was levelling through Lavastorm for the first time on my Inquisitor it took long enough for me to get friendly with the locals and buy recipes to craft a full set of suitably fire-y appearance gear. That’s mostly down to the slow free-to-play levelling speed from that time than my dedication to farming faction rep.
The kind of convenience or utility item described in the blog post linked above, an all important fast travel skill, is especially attractive as it is a major regional hub for services and onwards travel. I’ve played LOTRO on and off for nine years now but never intensively enough to “do all the things”. I have so many different reputation tokens and items lying around in wallets, banks and inventories across my various characters. So this kind of tip could be a real boon, or in all likelihood a new gaming goal!