With Update 14 we are being introduced a new type of itemisation system, known as socketed armour or the essence system. This is quite an exciting introduction for players who enjoy customisation. The gist of the system is that there will be new items with 'slots' where you can equip your preference of stats (found in 'essences'). Players will be able to customise items to suit their personal requirements rather than making do with the pre-determined options available. This is great if you're struggling to keep up a particular stat or fancy toying around with different builds.
Uhdun barter pieces at skirmish camp. Demonstrating two pieces of light armour at level 95 with three slots and two passive stats
At the moment, the system is restricted to: helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs and boots. Though it was mentioned that this may be expanded in future, if the system is successful.
Pieces can be bartered for at skirmish camps, at Dol Amroth, and also drop randomly.
The items have passive stats similar to LIs, and empty slots. The number of slots available seems to vary from 2 to 5, depending on the quality of the piece.
Uncommon = 2 slots
Rare = 3 slots
Incomparable = 4 slots
Legendary = 5 slots
Depending on the weight of the armour, there seems to be a constant main passive stat on each piece. These are:
- Light = Will
- Medium = Agility
- Heavy = Might
Where an armour piece has two passive stats, the first seems to always be one of those with the second changing depending on the piece.
At the moment, the stat values are the same for the level 100 skirmish and Dol Amroth pieces (+119 will, +119 agility, +119 might). It's in the armour value that you see the difference between the rare and incomparable qualities. It's worth pointing out that these values at level 100 (+119 will etc.) are equal to the rare essence of the same stat. The skirmish pieces at level 95, however, have stat values equal to the uncommon essence of the same type (+108 will etc.). It's likely, therefore, that the main passive stat will always be equal to at least the value of the uncommon essences.
Comparison of the level 100 skirmish and Dol Amroth light armour pieces
The empty slots can be filled with any of the available essences (level dependant), there are no current class or quality restrictions. Essences are consumable items that apply a single stat onto the chosen item. These essences are available for 19 different stats, in level forms 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 95, and 100. So this looks to be a system that can be enjoyed midway through the game to the cap and does not require a player to be level 100. Each essence comes in three quality variations: uncommon (Minor), rare (Major), incomparable (Greater). Some can also be crafted to produce legendary (Supreme) essences.
The stats available are:
Agility, Blocking, Critical Defence, Critical Rating, Evasion, Fate, Finesse, Incoming Healing, Might, Morale, Parrying, Physical Mastery, Physical Mitigation, Power, Resistance, Tactical Mastery, Tactical Mitigation, Vitality, and Will.
Slotting an essence is very simple, you right-click on the essence in your inventory and a pop-up will ask you which item to apply it to. The stats are then added to the item in the first empty slot, and when the slots are all full you cannot overwrite any of the essences. If you want to swap any, you can remove all the essences from a single item using an Essence Reclamation Scroll (available in the store - and as a rare drop). So there is a way to swap out essences if you get better ones. It would also seem that you are able to stack essences of the same type on an item.
These essences are not bound, meaning players can trade them freely. This should ease up some of the concerns of it being too 'grindy'. I don't know yet if unslotted items can be traded as well, or if they are bind-on-equip.
Steps of applying an essence to an item
As mentioned above, when applying an essence you cannot overwrite an existing essence. You will have to remove it first.