You can now freely explore Middle-earth. You can do quests, find mithril bricks, buy characters, buy red bricks or just run around exploring and collecting studs. You can also replay any of the story levels with any characters you’ve unlocked to collect blacksmith designs, minikit pieces, or treasure items. There are many possible ways to approach finding all these things, but I’ll suggest a relatively optimized plan.
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Activating all Map Stones
You start out at the top of Minas Tirith right next to a map statue. Activate the statue with B and look at the map. Note the controls to zoom out (B) and zoom in (X). As you look around you’ll see the green banners for story levels, the map statues for fast travelling, lots of silver mithril brick locations, green question marks for quests, character tokens for buyable minifigs, and other collectibles.
Let’s start by making sure all the Map Stones are unlocked so our map will be as complete as possible. Activating the statue means travelling to it and this hitting B to activate it (and you’ll see “Map Stone Discovered” on the map as it comes up). You probably did at least a couple of these as you went through the story, but now you can use the list to make sure you get all of them.HobbitonBreeWeathertopRivendellThe Pass of CaradhrasLothlórienAmon HenEmyn MuilThe Dead MarshesThe Black GateIsengardHelm"s DeepEdorasMinas TirithMinas MorgulCirith Ungol
Once you’ve activated the last Map Stone you’ll get an achievement.
Of all the inquisitive Hobbits.Unlock all the Map Stones in Middle-earth. (Single Player Only)
Now you can select anything you want on the map and Set Destination to make a trail of light blue guide studs. This is the best way to find the right path to get to things you see on the map.
Next steps - Top red bricks
Buying things will require studs so you’ll need a lot of those. In fact, you’ll eventually need 10 billion studs for one of the achievements. With what you’ve done so far, you probably have between 500,000 and 1,000,000 studs.
The first thing you should do is invest in the multiplier red bricks. These will make stud collection much faster. I’d avoid buying any other red bricks or characters until you get most of these.
Studs x2 red brick
The Studs x2 red brick should be our first goal but it requires the ability to blow up the shiny mithril objects you’ve seen around Middle-earth. There are characters you can buy with this explosive ability (like the Berserker) but there is also a blacksmith item called Mithril Fireworks. Since we don’t want to waste any studs right now (Berserker costs 200,000), let’s make the Mithril Fireworks item.
The design for Mithril Fireworks is near Barad-dûr, the fortress just northwest of Mount Doom. Fast travel to Cirith Ungol and go north. It is the blacksmith design right next to the character Gothmog on the map. Climb up the gate in front of the fortress where Gothmog is. You’ll need Legolas to make a couple of the jumps but it is an easy design to acquire.
Go to the blacksmith in Bree and craft the Mithril Fireworks. There are a couple of mithril locks right in Bree that you can practice on. Use any character and hold down B to select an item. Move the left stick down to select Treasure Trove. The new Mithril Fireworks are on the far right in the second-to-bottom row. Use X to fire.
We now have everything we need to get to all the collectibles in the Warg Attack Free Play level. Select that level from the map and choose Free Play. See the Free Play section in this walkthrough to make sure you find all the collectibles while you are there.
With only the Mithril Fireworks, I had some trouble with the minikit chest in the cave in the back of the Warg Attack outdoor area. The characters had some trouble targeting the top stones which needed to be blown up first. Moving further away or standing on the nearby stones helped. If you can’t make this work then you can always come back and get this one later with Berserker on another run through.
Go to the blacksmith in Bree and craft the Mithril Gloves. Fast travel to Rivendell. Northeast from the Map Stone is the character token for Elrond (Third Age). Set your destination to be the quest just northeast of him. The quest giver is down near the water level. You can get to her from either side. Listen to her story and then give her the gloves. Note that you still get to keep a copy of each item in your Treasure Trove so you never lose anything by completing quests. Buy the red brick that appeared and turn it on by hitting Start, then Extras, then scrolling down to Studs x2 and hitting A. When you exit the menus you’ll see a small “x2” in the upper left part of your screen.
Studs x4 red brick
Next step is the Studs x4 red brick. To get this you will need to find the blacksmith design in the Track Hobbits level. Might as well grab all the collectibles while we are there, so use the Free Play section later in this walkthrough to make sure you find everything.
Go to the blacksmith in Bree and craft the Mithril Fishing Rod. Fast travel to Amon Hen and set your destination on the quest marker Give the guy the Mithril Fishing Rod and you can now buy the Studs x4 red brick. If you don’t have enough money, you can explore around and start collecting mithril bricks or just smashing things until you have the 1,000,000 studs you need.
Now that you earning money more quickly, there is one character you should invest in. The Berserker can be found at Helm’s Deep up on a tower (follow the guide studs) and costs 200,000 studs. He has explosive bombs as his main weapon. These do a lot of damage and are generally more practical than the Mithril Fireworks.
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The Bonus Level
A good spot to make some money is the Bonus Level. Find the Gloin character token on the map southeast of Rivendell. Just east of there are a couple of mithril blocks, but also a little archway that is just labelled “Middle-earth.” Set that as your next destination and fast travel to Rivendell. After a hike through a waterfall you will arrive at the Bonus Level.
The Bonus Level is a model of the whole Middle-earth area, but on a very small scale. You get to play as Sauron and his chief emissary Mouth of Sauron (and can change to any other character you’ve unlocked). Smash everything in sight. Demolish everything you see, and don’t forget to use explosives. I thought the Berserker was the best choice for most of this level, chucking bombs everywhere. Explore everywhere since there are studs hiding behind most of the cliffs and in the nooks and crannies. The level is complete when you’ve done 1,000,000 studs worth of damage.