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  1. #1

    Best way to hit stat caps

    Hi all. I'm just coming back after 2 years away from the game (super disappointed after RoR and HD expansions). Anyway, I've got a 100 guard and he's nowhere near what it sounds like he should be stat-wise. (Edit: He's now at 105 and through Osgiliath.)

    I've never been one to grind for raid gear or anything like that, so I'm looking for the best way to get closer to my stat caps pretty much exclusively through solo play.

    Right now, I'm still using the Coastal Bulwark gear I got from Dol Amroth and have no good LIs to speak of (a 3rd age 2H LI for DPS and 2nd age belt and hammer for tanking). Jewelry is mostly what I got from EBs in HD.

    Stats currently are

    27k morale
    6k power
    8.5 crit rateing
    40k phys mastery and tac mastery
    21k resistance
    7k crit defense
    1.2k inc healing
    12.5k phys mit
    15k tac mit

    I've seen guides that say morale should be at 90-100k, the mitigations at 77k (cap), etc etc etc. How can I get all that stuff up?

    I'm only just now getting gear that can use essences (something new to me, though I have lots in the bank). I'm sure that will help when I get some good gear.

    Suggestions on gear (through soloing), LIs/legacies, essences to use, etc would be great. Also, if there's a calculator or spreadsheet out there to help, I'm okay crunching numbers as well.

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S. I've seen Zon's Guard Guide but a lot of this stuff is blank right now . Though I'm not sure if he's going to add gear to get solo or not anyway.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuacgordon View Post
    I've seen guides that say morale should be at 90-100k, the mitigations at 77k (cap), etc etc etc. How can I get all that stuff up?
    With mordor there was a stat inflation, so all of those numbers are at level cap (and the morale you'll want if doing t2c content is 140k+)
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
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    There is a big stat inflation starting at level 106. If you can collect some mathom armor boxes from hobbit presents and open them when you get to 106, and maybe run some epic battles at 106, your gear will immediately improve a lot. Until then, you can craft or buy some 105 essence gear and fill it with essences. You can buy essences that are decent for soloing at the skirmish camp if you find you don't have the right ones.

  4. #4
    The stats you've seen mentioned are for the level cap, 115. The level cap will go up to 120 with the next main update. The exact release date is not public yet but it should be within the next few months.

    If you are 105 now and you haven't reached Minas Tirith yet, you might want to consider a "Stone of the Tortoise", a pocket item that stops your character from gaining xp (your warsteed and legendary gear will still gain xp, your character will not). You buy the stone from the LOTRO store. Why? You still have four zones before you get to Mordor. The zones are Minas Tirith, Far Anorian, North Ithilien and The Wastes. You could easily hit 115 before starting Mordor, meaning you'll outlevel the content. Being over-level will make the content easier, but where's the fun in that?

    You can regear with new level 100 essence armour and jewellery in Minas Tirith and again in North Ithilien. There are vendors near the Minas Tirith main gate that sell armour and jewellery with essence sockets, and you can barter essences there as well, but you will need to collect tokens from quests. Far Anorian will give you some basic essence armour and essences as quest rewards but not much for jewellery. North Ithilien has full sets of 105 essence armour and jewellery and essences, but it's a grindy zone for collecting the tokens needed to barter for the gear and essences. The Wastes has some upgrades to the North Ithilien gear but the full armour sets in The Wastes are mostly raid gear needing special tokens.

    Mordor is a significant step up in difficulty compared to The Wastes. The mobs in Mordor are tougher and hit harder. You WILL need to completely regear in Mordor. Apart from the general stat inflation, Mordor has a completely new gear stat, Light of Earendil. There is a general "shadow" debuff for characters in Mordor which the Light of Earendil stat will counter. The deeper you go into Mordor, the stronger the debuff gets and the more LoE you will need. A lot of Mordor quests offer new gear with LoE on it, plus there are several levels of bartered gear (112 and 115) with LoE on it.

    In terms of essences/stats before Mordor, for solo landscape content I'd suggest prioritising Morale, Physical Mastery, Physical Mitigation and Critical Rating. Some Tactical Mitigation wouldn't hurt but it's not a priority for solo content. You'll notice that I did not mention Might. If you tend to play sword & shield, maybe some Might due to the bonus to blocking with a shield that Might gives you, but if you generally solo with a 2-hand weapon, Physical Mastery will generally benefit your dps more than Might. Also, there are separate essences specifically for block parry and evade ratings.

    In Mordor, I'd also add some Finesse (yeah, Finesse works in the general landscape in Mordor, compared to everywhere else where it's really mostly a raid stat), some Critical Defence and some Incoming Healing. The devs recently changed the Guard class, mostly due to low dps even when traited in red line (and bugs in the programming for guard skills that made some skills not work properly all the time), and guard dps did get a noticeable improvement. As part of these changes we lost the Prey on the Weak self heal but the Catch a Breath and Warrior's Heart/Warrior's Fortitute heals were improved, a lot. Even for soloing some extra incoming healing to make the self heals even more powerful can be useful.

    After Mordor is Northern Mirkwood. In terms of stats, once you've got yourself set up in Mordor, just follow the same pattern for Northern Mirkwood, the stat numbers just get a bit bigger. There will be more gear as quest rewards in Northern Mirkwood, plus there are three main hubs for bartering for gear. The first hub is Felegoth, the elves of North Mirk. Their gear is Agility based, plus medium Might armour for Beornings, but they can have some useful Might jewellery for a heavy armour class. The second hub is Dale which has the Will light armour for tactical classes. Not much of interest to a heavy armour class there. The final hub is the dwarves of Erebor/The Lonely Mountain. This is where you'll find the heavy armour you'll want, but it will be the last main hub you get to in terms of the zone's quest progression.

    Different people will have opinions on how much of each stat you should have, I won't try to give specific numbers since how I prefer to set my stats may not work for how you prefer to play, but for Mordor/North Mirk landscape soloing my general preferences are Phys Mastery, Morale, Phys Mitigation, Crit Rating, Finesse, Incoming Healing, Crit Defence.

    Another detail for Mordor and North Mirk gear (armour and jewellery) is that there are basically two versions of each piece of gear. One version prioritises offensive stats for more dps at the expense of less morale and defence. The other version does the opposite, more morale and defence at the expense of offensive stats. These do not have set bonuses, they are just general pieces of gear with their stats optimised for either offence or defence, and you can mix pieces of the two versions any way you want. I generally solo with a full set of offensive armour and mostly offensive jewellery with mostly essences for offence and a couple of defensive jewellery pieces. I also carry a full set of defensive armour with extra morale and defensive stat essences and a couple of extra pieces of defensive jewellery so I can swap from a lower morale/higher dps setup to a higher morale/lower dps and more defences setup.

    Now let's talk about imbued legendary items. I won't go into exactly which legacies to use since that depends on how you trait and prefer to play. If you want to get more out of your imbued LI's, you'll want to collect two items, Anfalas Star-Lit Crystals and Anfalas Scrolls of Empowerment. You'll get a small number of both from epic quests in the next few zones, the rest you'll have to earn or buy yourself. Crystals and scrolls can drop as loot in various group instances. Crystals can also be earned in various seasonal festivals. https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Ite...ar-lit_Crystal

    The Yule festival is running right now (I don't know why) but will end soon. The Summer festival will be repeated for approx. 12 days later this month. When the Summer festival was running a few weeks ago I was able to barter 1 crystal every 2 days using festival tokens from solo quests. When the Spring festival was running earlier this year I was able to get a crystal every day.

    Scrolls of Empowerment are a much bigger grind but can be earned any time in multiple zones and drop as loot from various group instances.
    https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Ite...of_Empowerment

    Based on a current imbued LI cap, a newly imbued LI with 7 legacies needs approx. 200 scrolls to get all the legacies to their current cap. The exact number of scrolls does vary depending on whether the LI is 3rd Age, 2nd Age or 1st Age. 1st Age LI's need fewer scrolls, 3rd Age LI's need the most, but the difference in scrolls is not large. Now multiply 200 by how many imbued LIs you have, and when the character level cap goes up with the next zone expansion, IF the imbued LI cap also goes up, so does the number of scrolls needed to get an imbued LI to it's cap.

    Is it necessary to get an imbued LI to it's cap? No, you can get by without grinding for the crystals and scrolls if you don't want to. I'm just letting you know how much of a grind it can be to get all the scrolls needed to max out an imbued LI.

    To recap, I'm not giving specific stat numbers because what I prefer to use may not suit how you prefer to play. From where you are now, Osgiliath, if you are comfortable with how you are geared, you could go with quest reward items through Minas Tirith and Far Anorian up to North Ithilien. If you do want to make some changes ASAP, Minas Tirith will be the next stop that will let you do that. North ithilien will be your last chance to make any major changes to your gear before you start Mordor. The Wastes will let you make some adjustments to your gear and stats before Mordor but unless you want to take the time to earn the tokens for the Wastes raid gear, you'll be going into Mordor mostly with whatever gear you finish North Ithilien with. You will need to completely regear in Mordor due to the stat inflation there and the increase in landscape difficulty, but you'll get new gear from quests and from bartering. There is also crafted gear in Mordor but it's mostly for level 115 and most of the 115 bartered gear is better. Once you're comfortable with how you are set up in Mordor, North Mirk is really just more of the same with a bit more of an increase in the stat numbers. We don't know how things will be in the upcoming zone yet.
    Therina - Hobbit Guard Rongo - Hobbit Warden
    Frood - Man Minstrel Garmun - Man Captain
    Zorosi - Dwarf Champ Froodaroon - Elf Hunter
    Southern Defenders - Arkenstone (formerly Elendilmir)

  5. #5
    Thanks for the responses, all. I appreciate it.

  6. #6
    One detail I forgot to mention in my earlier wall of text. If you use a shield regularly, the recent changes to the guard class included a change to how damage for shield skills is calculated. Shield skills which damage mobs are now calculated on the dps rating of your main hand weapon. The more you can increase the dps of that weapon, the more damage your shield skills will do. If your main hand weapon is an imbued LI, you'll need starlit crystals to increase the weapon dps. If you don't use a shield much, it's not really an issue, but some people playing a guard prefer to run sword & board rather than with a 2-hand weapon.

    This change to shield damage also has a hidden flaw. When you are using a shield and a mob disarms your main hand weapon, your shield skills will not work because the shield damage is based on your weapon damage, and when you're disarmed you aren't holding a weapon. Disarms are not a serious problem in Mordor or North Mirk landscape content. They do happen, but not often enough to be a major issue IMO.
    Therina - Hobbit Guard Rongo - Hobbit Warden
    Frood - Man Minstrel Garmun - Man Captain
    Zorosi - Dwarf Champ Froodaroon - Elf Hunter
    Southern Defenders - Arkenstone (formerly Elendilmir)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    The stats you've seen mentioned are for the level cap, 115. The level cap will go up to 120 with the next main update. The exact release date is not public yet but it should be within the next few months.

    If you are 105 now and you haven't reached Minas Tirith yet, you might want to consider a "Stone of the Tortoise", a pocket item that stops your character from gaining xp (your warsteed and legendary gear will still gain xp, your character will not). You buy the stone from the LOTRO store. Why? You still have four zones before you get to Mordor. The zones are Minas Tirith, Far Anorian, North Ithilien and The Wastes. You could easily hit 115 before starting Mordor, meaning you'll outlevel the content. Being over-level will make the content easier, but where's the fun in that?

    You can regear with new level 100 essence armour and jewellery in Minas Tirith and again in North Ithilien. There are vendors near the Minas Tirith main gate that sell armour and jewellery with essence sockets, and you can barter essences there as well, but you will need to collect tokens from quests. Far Anorian will give you some basic essence armour and essences as quest rewards but not much for jewellery. North Ithilien has full sets of 105 essence armour and jewellery and essences, but it's a grindy zone for collecting the tokens needed to barter for the gear and essences. The Wastes has some upgrades to the North Ithilien gear but the full armour sets in The Wastes are mostly raid gear needing special tokens.

    Mordor is a significant step up in difficulty compared to The Wastes. The mobs in Mordor are tougher and hit harder. You WILL need to completely regear in Mordor. Apart from the general stat inflation, Mordor has a completely new gear stat, Light of Earendil. There is a general "shadow" debuff for characters in Mordor which the Light of Earendil stat will counter. The deeper you go into Mordor, the stronger the debuff gets and the more LoE you will need. A lot of Mordor quests offer new gear with LoE on it, plus there are several levels of bartered gear (112 and 115) with LoE on it.

    In terms of essences/stats before Mordor, for solo landscape content I'd suggest prioritising Morale, Physical Mastery, Physical Mitigation and Critical Rating. Some Tactical Mitigation wouldn't hurt but it's not a priority for solo content. You'll notice that I did not mention Might. If you tend to play sword & shield, maybe some Might due to the bonus to blocking with a shield that Might gives you, but if you generally solo with a 2-hand weapon, Physical Mastery will generally benefit your dps more than Might. Also, there are separate essences specifically for block parry and evade ratings.

    In Mordor, I'd also add some Finesse (yeah, Finesse works in the general landscape in Mordor, compared to everywhere else where it's really mostly a raid stat), some Critical Defence and some Incoming Healing. The devs recently changed the Guard class, mostly due to low dps even when traited in red line (and bugs in the programming for guard skills that made some skills not work properly all the time), and guard dps did get a noticeable improvement. As part of these changes we lost the Prey on the Weak self heal but the Catch a Breath and Warrior's Heart/Warrior's Fortitute heals were improved, a lot. Even for soloing some extra incoming healing to make the self heals even more powerful can be useful.

    After Mordor is Northern Mirkwood. In terms of stats, once you've got yourself set up in Mordor, just follow the same pattern for Northern Mirkwood, the stat numbers just get a bit bigger. There will be more gear as quest rewards in Northern Mirkwood, plus there are three main hubs for bartering for gear. The first hub is Felegoth, the elves of North Mirk. Their gear is Agility based, plus medium Might armour for Beornings, but they can have some useful Might jewellery for a heavy armour class. The second hub is Dale which has the Will light armour for tactical classes. Not much of interest to a heavy armour class there. The final hub is the dwarves of Erebor/The Lonely Mountain. This is where you'll find the heavy armour you'll want, but it will be the last main hub you get to in terms of the zone's quest progression.

    Different people will have opinions on how much of each stat you should have, I won't try to give specific numbers since how I prefer to set my stats may not work for how you prefer to play, but for Mordor/North Mirk landscape soloing my general preferences are Phys Mastery, Morale, Phys Mitigation, Crit Rating, Finesse, Incoming Healing, Crit Defence.

    Another detail for Mordor and North Mirk gear (armour and jewellery) is that there are basically two versions of each piece of gear. One version prioritises offensive stats for more dps at the expense of less morale and defence. The other version does the opposite, more morale and defence at the expense of offensive stats. These do not have set bonuses, they are just general pieces of gear with their stats optimised for either offence or defence, and you can mix pieces of the two versions any way you want. I generally solo with a full set of offensive armour and mostly offensive jewellery with mostly essences for offence and a couple of defensive jewellery pieces. I also carry a full set of defensive armour with extra morale and defensive stat essences and a couple of extra pieces of defensive jewellery so I can swap from a lower morale/higher dps setup to a higher morale/lower dps and more defences setup.

    Now let's talk about imbued legendary items. I won't go into exactly which legacies to use since that depends on how you trait and prefer to play. If you want to get more out of your imbued LI's, you'll want to collect two items, Anfalas Star-Lit Crystals and Anfalas Scrolls of Empowerment. You'll get a small number of both from epic quests in the next few zones, the rest you'll have to earn or buy yourself. Crystals and scrolls can drop as loot in various group instances. Crystals can also be earned in various seasonal festivals. https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Ite...ar-lit_Crystal

    The Yule festival is running right now (I don't know why) but will end soon. The Summer festival will be repeated for approx. 12 days later this month. When the Summer festival was running a few weeks ago I was able to barter 1 crystal every 2 days using festival tokens from solo quests. When the Spring festival was running earlier this year I was able to get a crystal every day.

    Scrolls of Empowerment are a much bigger grind but can be earned any time in multiple zones and drop as loot from various group instances.
    https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Ite...of_Empowerment

    Based on a current imbued LI cap, a newly imbued LI with 7 legacies needs approx. 200 scrolls to get all the legacies to their current cap. The exact number of scrolls does vary depending on whether the LI is 3rd Age, 2nd Age or 1st Age. 1st Age LI's need fewer scrolls, 3rd Age LI's need the most, but the difference in scrolls is not large. Now multiply 200 by how many imbued LIs you have, and when the character level cap goes up with the next zone expansion, IF the imbued LI cap also goes up, so does the number of scrolls needed to get an imbued LI to it's cap.

    Is it necessary to get an imbued LI to it's cap? No, you can get by without grinding for the crystals and scrolls if you don't want to. I'm just letting you know how much of a grind it can be to get all the scrolls needed to max out an imbued LI.

    To recap, I'm not giving specific stat numbers because what I prefer to use may not suit how you prefer to play. From where you are now, Osgiliath, if you are comfortable with how you are geared, you could go with quest reward items through Minas Tirith and Far Anorian up to North Ithilien. If you do want to make some changes ASAP, Minas Tirith will be the next stop that will let you do that. North ithilien will be your last chance to make any major changes to your gear before you start Mordor. The Wastes will let you make some adjustments to your gear and stats before Mordor but unless you want to take the time to earn the tokens for the Wastes raid gear, you'll be going into Mordor mostly with whatever gear you finish North Ithilien with. You will need to completely regear in Mordor due to the stat inflation there and the increase in landscape difficulty, but you'll get new gear from quests and from bartering. There is also crafted gear in Mordor but it's mostly for level 115 and most of the 115 bartered gear is better. Once you're comfortable with how you are set up in Mordor, North Mirk is really just more of the same with a bit more of an increase in the stat numbers. We don't know how things will be in the upcoming zone yet.
    Your detailed info is amazing & vey helpful. I am also running a guardian (lvl 114) and will need heavy armour soon. I thought all vendors in a area had the same items. I'll have to check dwarves of Erebor. Thanks for taking the time and writing this reply.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Woldo View Post
    Your detailed info is amazing & vey helpful. I am also running a guardian (lvl 114) and will need heavy armour soon. I thought all vendors in a area had the same items. I'll have to check dwarves of Erebor. Thanks for taking the time and writing this reply.
    For North Mirk, Felegoth has the medium armour and jewellery related to medium armour classes, Dale has the light armour and related jewellery, Erebor has the heavy armour and related jewellery. Since beornings are a might based medium armour class, Felegoth has some options for might jewellery but no heavy armour. The stats on the Felegoth might jewellery are a little different to the Erebor might jewellery, so it's worth checking both to see which ones will suit your stat build better.

    The Erebor quest hub is also the dwarf allegiance hall for Mordor, so if you work on rep for the dwarf allegiance hall, you get a port skill with a 5 min cooldown for Erebor before getting to it through the North Mirk landscape quest progression, and Erebor has a free fast horse NPC back to Mordor.

    You have to be a minimum of lvl 110 and talk to Eomer at the Udun Foothold camp in Mordor to start the allegiance halls.

    Another detail, shields in Mordor. There are no crafted shield recipes for Mordor or North Mirk, and I haven't found any bartered shields in North Mirk. There are a small number of quest reward shields in Mordor. They're ok but not great. There is one camp in Mordor that has bartered shields, at the Ruins of Dingarth. About 100 meters north-west of the Dingarth stable master is a group of barter NPC's that have all the Mordor raid armour and jewellery. In this group of NPC's is one called the "Master of Mordor Lore - Gorgoroth Rewards Vendor". He has the bartered shields. All of the shields need to be bartered with Mordor Ash, and some of the shields and other gear he has are locked behind deeds, but his basic shields are better than the quest reward shields available in Morodr and do not require a deed, just level 115.
    https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Mas...r)_Barter_List

    The wiki page is incomplete, not all the items on that page show their stats, but as I said, even the basic shields from this NPC are better than the few shield choices you get from quest rewards in Mordor.
    Therina - Hobbit Guard Rongo - Hobbit Warden
    Frood - Man Minstrel Garmun - Man Captain
    Zorosi - Dwarf Champ Froodaroon - Elf Hunter
    Southern Defenders - Arkenstone (formerly Elendilmir)

  9. #9
    Time to update this. SSG have developed a new system for scaling stats based on your xp level.
    https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...alance-Changes

    Compared to my other posts in this thread, the most obvious change with the new stat scaling system is the cap on Physical and Tactical Mastery. The current cap on the live servers is 400%. The cap in the new stat scaling system is 200% with diminishing returns as you get closer to that cap. In the first beta testing round for U23, some players who were already at or close to the 400% cap on the live servers were reporting that they were over 200% in the test with their gear from their live server. Maybe SSG will tweak things to stop that happening, or maybe they will ignore it. They could ignore it because we will be regearing for the new level cap and any over-cap stats we might start the new zone with will be re-scaled by the new gear in that zone. Any over-cap for Phys Mastery will be temporary and only last a few xp levels.

    I'll take a look at the new gear and how to build stats, concentrating on bartered/crafted gear that a soloing player can expect to acquire. I haven't run a raid in a long time, I'll leave raid stat details to others and spend my time looking at soloing setups. If I have enough time I'll create a test toon for build 2 on Bullroarer and look at gear progression leading up to the start of the new zone. It's all well and good to talk about what gear you should consider getting when you are at the level cap, but you have to get through the content that's before the level cap first.

    I'll update when the next test opens and I've had time to try some things.
    Therina - Hobbit Guard Rongo - Hobbit Warden
    Frood - Man Minstrel Garmun - Man Captain
    Zorosi - Dwarf Champ Froodaroon - Elf Hunter
    Southern Defenders - Arkenstone (formerly Elendilmir)

  10. #10
    OK, U23 build 2 is open on BR, but only for a few days. Because of how things work on BR I can't wipe my copied guard from BR and re-transfer that toon over from live, so I'm starting this with a 116 toon on BR.

    For now I've been looking at the question of "What is the minimum gear spec from Mordor that's worth taking into Northern Mirkwood?" Why a "minimum spec"? Because Mordor is already one zone behind the endgame and will soon be two zones behind. What proportion of players are going to pause their zone progression in Mordor to get better than minimum spec gear that they know they'll be replacing fairly quickly after they finish getting it? I'll also not be talking about good gear pieces from quest rewards, just gear pieces to cover the slots not filled with quest reward gear.

    For starters, ignore the purple crafted 115 Mordor gear. It has the same stats as the bartered 112 Mordor gear, and IMO that's not good enough for soloing North Mirk. I tried a full set of 112 Mordor gear (armour and jewellery) in some of the more mob dense locations of North Mirk and it didn't take long for me to decide "NOPE!". Not enough mitigation and morale with this gear to deal with the incoming damage. I'm not saying it's useless, when you have enough room to pick your fights carefully, it will work, but some North Mirk quests will send you into the more difficult areas where the weaknesses of this gear set become quite obvious. For soloing Mordor content, it's fine as a stepping stone, but that's all, IMO.

    My suggested minimum spec gear set from Mordor to take into North Mirk is the lvl 115 Mordor's Bane Rare gear set from the Elf Smith barterer (in all Mordor landscape quest camps and all Allegiance Halls). This is a defensive set that gives more morale and defensive stats at the expense of less might, Phys Mastery and Crit Rating. Even with this gear set, a decent shield, mitigation scrolls and regen food are recommended. This really is a "minimum spec" and some care will be needed while using it. There is an offensive version of this gear set, the Expedition's Vanguard set, but it doesn't stack enough morale and doesn't have enough essence slots to stack useful amounts of extra mitigation and morale IMO, so it's a bit too squishy to solo the harder parts of North Mirk. 140 ash/motes per piece of gear.

    The next step up for gear, from the same barter NPC, is the Mordor's Bane Incomparable (teal) set. Similar stats as the Rare set, but more essence slots, and most pieces in this set are 420 ash/motes each. Depending on how long you want to spend collecting Mordor Ash/Motes, maybe mix the Mordor's Bane Incomparable (teal) armour set (because it has more raw armour points, so phys mit is better) with the Rare (purple) jewellery set. There is a teal Expedition's Vanguard Incomparable set as well, more offensive stats at the expense of less morale, so it's squishier. If you want to go with the Expeditions Vanguard Incomparable armour set for more dps, I suggest you stack morale essences. In the harder parts of North Mirk, you'll be glad you have that extra morale.

    Any Mordor gear of higher quality than this will perform better in North Mirk but will take longer to grind the tokens/ash/motes, something most players aren't going to want to do when the level cap is only a few levels and two more zones away. I'll take a look at the "minimum spec" options for finishing North Mirk and starting Iron Hills next, but I have real life stuff and some more gear tests to do before I can say anything sensible about that.
    Therina - Hobbit Guard Rongo - Hobbit Warden
    Frood - Man Minstrel Garmun - Man Captain
    Zorosi - Dwarf Champ Froodaroon - Elf Hunter
    Southern Defenders - Arkenstone (formerly Elendilmir)

  11. #11
    I did get in on the U23 build 3 test in the last few days. Unfortunately there were bugs with some of the new gear that made it impossible to test the gear properly.

    In short, there will be a new set of bartered gear boxes that work like Mathom Hunter boxes. You barter a new type of ash (Embers of Enchantment) and get a box. When you open the box, you have a list of items to choose from. You can preview the stats of each item in the list, pick one and it's put into your inventory, auto-scaled to your current XP level, just like a Mathom Hunter box.

    There are separate boxes for light, medium and heavy armour, might, agility and will jewellery and other items like offhand weapons, bows and shields, and new essence boxes as well. There are two versions for every box, purple and teal, so there are approx. 16 different gear boxes in total. The teal boxes need more embers than the purple boxes but I don't know if the amount of embers in the build 3 test are final or not.

    The bug with the armour boxes is that while the stats look good in the list before you pick an item, when you do pick an item the stat scaling was broken. Items that should have been at item-level 360 or so were being delivered at item-level 120, far below the correct level for the new zone, with stats well below what they should have been.

    The new jewellery boxes were not as bad, they did scale but I think they didn't scale correctly. I did open several jewellery boxes at 119 and got level 116 items each time.

    This bug wasn't just affecting the new bartered boxes, mathom hunter boxes were even more broken. I had a Rare Mathom Hunter box on a level 119 toon. When I opened the box, all the items in the list had an item-level of 361 and stats that looked level appropriate. I selected an item and it was delivered as item-level ONE, a level 1 item on a level 119 toon. I filed a ticket about the bugged gear scaling and I know others in the build 3 test saw the same bug. I don't know if there will be a build 4 test before U23 goes live.

    Having said that, if you have any mathom hunter boxes, hold onto them. The new zone does NOT have the 'shadow' debuff and the new gear does NOT have the Light of Earendil stat, meaning gear from mathom hunter boxes will be viable in the new zone. When your character is 116 or higher, they start gaining some LoE as a permanent stat on the character. Not enough that you can dump all your Mordor/North Mirk gear, you'll need to keep some gear with LoE on it if you keep running Mordor content.

    This means you have three options for new gear before you reach 120. Quest rewards, the new bartered gear boxes and mathom hunter boxes.

    How well does Mordor/North Mirk gear stand up in the new zone? Purple gear will only last a few levels before you notice yourself becoming increasingly squishy against higher level mobs. Gear with stats optimised for higher morale and defence will last longer than gear optimised for offence.

    Mordor/North Mirk teal gear copes better. My guard in the test reached 119 and apart from changing a couple of jewellery pieces I was able to handle the new solo content quite well with the Mordor/North Mirk teal gear I currently use on live. I started noticing increased squishiness against 118 mobs, but nothing alarming.

    If you have the chance, I genuinely recommend upgrading to the teal "Thorin's Memory" (defence) armour (ally/kindred rep with Erebor required) or equivalent from Dale or Felegoth for light and medium classes. Stack some extra morale and phys mit essences on it and it should last you through pretty much all of the solo landscape content in the new zone. There isn't much teal jewellery in North Mirk so either use purple jewellery or teal jewellery from Mordor. Another reason for getting the teal armour over the purple armour is the teal armour has more essence slots for stacking important stats. Note: there is no teal Thorin's Memory chest piece available for barter, but if I remember correctly it's offered as a once-only quest reward in North Mirk.

    There isn't enough landscape XP to get all the way to 120 in the new zone, you'll run out of landscape quests close to level 119. Pay attention to task items, and some new level 118+ soloable instances unlock when you complete specific quests in the new zone. Consumable XP boosters are another option.

    So to recap, solo gear to progress from Mordor to the new zone.

    I'd recommend the purple Rare Mordor's Bane gear (Keeper of Mysteries NPC) as a minimum gear set for finishing Mordor/starting North Mirk. If you use a shield or bow much, check the barterers near the Ruins of Dingarth camp for better a shield and bow. The teal Incomparable Mordor's Bane gear is better but takes longer to collect enough ash/motes for it.

    You'll get some quest reward gear in North Mirk but for heavy armour you want Erebor rep (don't forget the North Mirk task items for Erebor rep). The purple Thorin's Memory gear is the minimum spec I'd recommend but if you can, save your North Mirk barter tokens and go for the teal Thorin's Memory gear, better stats and more essence slots. The teal helmet, necklace and pocket item are all crafted from one-shot recipes. Since Erebor is the dwarf allegiance hall you can get essences there from the Keeper of Mysteries NPC with Mordor ash/motes. With the idea of making this gear last as long as possible in the new zone, I'd concentrate on vitality and phys mit essences. I haven't found any shield of bow upgrades in North Mirk. I've been using the teal 115 Thorin's Memory armour in the new zone and it's performed quite well. It started to look squishy against 118 mobs but this is a 115 gear set copied from live with a more varied set of slotted essences. With more focus on vit and phys mit essences, this gear set would be holding up even better.

    The quest reward gear in the new zone is ok, but nothing special. Depending on how well geared you are, change North Mirk pieces with quest reward pieces if they are an improvement. There will be bartered gear boxes with auto-scaled gear before you reach 120 but as I said above, right now the boxes are bugged and I didn't test the armour. The jewellery I could test worked ok but I think even the jewellery didn't scale quite correctly. New shields and bows are also available from these boxes. If you can, use mathom hunter boxes to temporarily replace North Mirk armour and save your ash/embers for the teal gear boxes rather than spend the ash/embers on purple gear boxes. Remember to keep hold of some Mordor/North Mirk gear if you intend to rerun content from those zones, you'll still need some extra LoE from the gear.

    I didn't see much in the way of crafted gear in the new zone and didn't try making any. There should be a raid for the new zone coming out in the future and we might get some more crafting options then, but only SSG knows for certain about that.
    Therina - Hobbit Guard Rongo - Hobbit Warden
    Frood - Man Minstrel Garmun - Man Captain
    Zorosi - Dwarf Champ Froodaroon - Elf Hunter
    Southern Defenders - Arkenstone (formerly Elendilmir)

  12. #12
    I know we're up to U23 build 5, I have been testing gear in each build, but SSG dev Vastin has said (in a build 5 feedback thread) there will be at least one more build before the U23 launch, because some changes SSG want to include did not make it into build 5 for player testing.

    What I can say is that the broken stat scaling for the new bartered gear boxes and Mathom Hunter boxes from build 3 was fixed. In build 5 I'd rate the Mathom Hunter gear as being on the same general level as quest reward gear in U23. The item levels for both are around the same, but Mathom Hunter gear does not have essence slots. The one advantage to Mathom Hunter gear in the new zone is you can select exactly which piece of armour you get. If you want new boots but no quest gives you boots as a reward, you can get some from a Mathom Hunter box. The Mathom Hunter stats will auto-scale so the higher your level when you open a box, the better the stats will be.

    For general landscape content, Mathom Hunter gear copes OK. When you hit level 118 and reach certain key quests, you'll have to complete several instances associated with those quests (the quest instances all have a solo/duo and a group mode). For build 5, SSG made instance mobs tougher and this includes the new quest instances. I copied over a storage alt I have on live that has a bunch of Mathom Hunter boxes. With an all mathom hunter armour set and a mix of 115 teal and U23 quest reward jewellery, soloing the new instances was noticeably harder than in earlier builds, and it wasn't just the new instances that were harder.

    On live with my current 115 gear build I can solo School of Tham Mirdain without any drama (I'm not saying I'm great, I'm just using a known instance as a comparison point). On build 5 at level 120, geared completely with level 120 armour and jewellery from the new bartered gear boxes (as close as I could get to a 120 equivalent to my live 115 gear build), soloing School was not easy at all. On one hand, that's reasonable, School is meant to be a group instance. With some healing support 2-manning School would have been effective. On the other hand, build 5 has turned up the heat for mob difficulty inside instances. I think SSG may have turned things up a little too much for the solo versions of the U23 quest instances, so I'm waiting for build 6 to see if SSG turns the heat down a little for soloing these quest instances. If not, there's going to be a lot of players looking to group up for those instances just to progress the quests for them.

    There were also some new level 120 bartered armour and jewellery, but not complete sets of either, and full sets of level 120 purple crafted gear recipes (including crafted shields but no crafted bow recipes that I could find).

    In build 5 I'd rate the quest reward gear and mathom hunter gear around the same level, with mathom hunter gear a little better if you open the boxes at a higher xp level. The next step up are the new bartered gear boxes, purple and teal versions of each box. Just like mathom hunter boxes, they scale the stats to your XP level when you open the box, so opening at a higher xp level is better. These might be a bit too expensive though, bartered with embers which will take a while to collect.

    Above these new boxes are the bartered partial gear sets. Higher item level, not auto-scaling, level 120 required to use. Purple gloves, legs, boots and cloak, and teal boots with two essence slots. Jewellery is limited to purple rings and bracelets, no teal jewellery in this set in build 5.

    The new crafted gear is a step up again, kindred rep required to barter the recipes, level 120 required to use the gear, special ingredients from instances required to craft the gear. Gear is bind on equip so it can be bought/traded from other players.

    The instances supposedly drop some gear when run in group mode but I've been concentrating on soloing so I haven't looked at that.

    In build 5 a good set of 115 gear holds up quite well for general landscape content until you hit the quest instances (level 118+), then the increased mob difficulty inside the instances will be difficult for a 115 gear build. Now I'm waiting to see if things change much in build 6.
    Therina - Hobbit Guard Rongo - Hobbit Warden
    Frood - Man Minstrel Garmun - Man Captain
    Zorosi - Dwarf Champ Froodaroon - Elf Hunter
    Southern Defenders - Arkenstone (formerly Elendilmir)

 

 

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