With the new upcoming additional radiance gear coming out which set would you recommend the hardcore player focus on? What about the casual player?
First, let’s address what it is that radiance does for us and how important the radiance number itself is in determining which set is going to best fit which style of player will likely aim for which set. Then we’ll look at other aspects such as Non-radiance stats/bonuses and Attainability to figure out our final answer.
Radiance is your characters ability to mitigate the dread causing effect called “Gloom”. 1 point of Radiance removes 1 point of Gloom. Every FULL TEN POINTS of Gloom translates to 1 point of dread (Gloom rounds down to the nearest 10 when deciding how much dread to apply). However, it is worth noting that not all dread comes from gloom… Any dread that is applied directly (listed in a debuff as “+X dread ) cannot be mitigated by Radiance. It can, however be mitigated by hope (such as from an Edhelharn token or destiny buff).
See our post on “What is Radiance” for more information on this topic.
The Adverse Effects of Dread
Most people know by now that dread can make you cower. The point at which cowering from dread can start occurring is 8. The point of cowering was 5 prior to a patch sometime in the Moria days (I forget precisely when). With the change to the point of cowering also came some changes to dread’s other effects.
- Decreases Max Morale: By 5% per point of dread for the first 4 points. 10% per point thereafter.
- Decreases Healing Received: By 1% per each of the first 3 Dread points and 2% for each point from 3-6. Point 7 decreases by 5%. Every point after 7 decreases it by 10%
- Increases the Damage You Receive: By 1% per each of the first 3 Dread points and 2% for each point beyond 3.
- Decreases the Damage You Deal: By 1% on the first point, 4% on the second point and 5% for each point thereafter.
- Decreases Your Skill Level**: By one level per point starting at dread = 3.
Bear in mind that these penalties are stacking with each point and stack faster with each point, Dread = 3 is the “happy zone” before the penalties start becoming too steep for a character to be effective in a raid.
**Decreased Skill Level means that your skills become of lower potency (as if you yourself were X levels lower), in addition your skills are also subject to missing more due to that lower level status, this is arguably the biggest limiting factor of dread.
Do Non-Radiance Stats Play a Role?
Of course Non-Radiance stats play a role! However, if we’re speaking in terms of which NEEDS to come first… Radiance needs to come first until you can get AT LEAST within the “3-dread happy-zone” that I talked about earlier. After that point it’s ok to let yourself take some stats/bonuses over more radiance even though it’s considerably likely that even within this range, a bit more radiance would help.
It is also worth mentioning that a set’s non-radiance stats have EVERYTHING to do with how good that set is when not in a Gloom/Radiance gated raid and therefore how desirable that set is… because let’s face it… pretty much no one, even the “hardcore”, spend more time in a gated raid environment than they do elsewhere in the game.
Hey, So How Many Different and Which Radiance Set are We Talking About?
I’m going cater this question toward the most Endish of End Game and include Dar Narbugud, Annuminas, Helegrod, Barad Guldur and the “Mixed 15’s and 25’s” sets.
Next I’m going to lay out each set and look at the following aspects of each: Total Radiance, Stats/bonuses and Attainability.
Dar Narbugud (DN) Set: Total Radiance: 120
The stats on DN gear are good, Armour value is a bit lower than some of the other options.
A couple classes get very nice set bonuses but overall the set bonuses on the DN gear are nothing to get excited about.
DN will drop 6 pieces for 12 people (half the raid will get one piece, the other half none) DN has one week locks and takes 4+ hours for an average group to complete (very adept groups can finish in about 2.5 hours). Theoretically it would take you about 12 weeks (3 months) to get this set. Oh, not to mention this instance requires having some radiance already (75 minimum to be in the “3-dread happy-zone”)
Helegrod Set: Total Radiance: 150
Helegrod’s radiance set sports the highest armour value of any armour to-date, very good stats and set bonuses that, in general, are to die for.
Like Annuminas, Helegrod is helped by the instance join and skirmish-style bartering system in this regard. No locks, only a daily cooldown on the quest in each of the 4 “wings” at 3-12 man raids of approximate run times of 45 mins each and a 24-man raid of around 30 mins (albeit this 24 man raid is allegedly the hardest content to date). This will be a relatively easy set to attain for anyone with enough time and patience to get 12 or 24 people together. Not as easy as Annuminas but far easier than several other options.
Annuminas Set: Total Radiance: 150
Armour value is very good, Non-radiance stats are very good (after applying the stats from bonuses as all bonuses are more stats)
With the new instance join and bartering systems in place this is going to be an easy set to acquire. 3 Fellowship (6-man) sized instances with at least one of them having a run time of under 30 mins is going to make this a very easy set to acquire.
Barad Guldur (BG): Total Radiance: 180
Barad Guldur’s sets have identical armour values to the Annuminas sets and stats that are very similar, but not identical, to the Helegrod set. The bonuses on this set are lackluster save for the mitigation bumps to frost and shadow on the 4-piece bonus.
One week locks, Half the set being locked behind challenge modes, the toughest radiance gate (115) currently in the game, and a steep learning curve coupled with high demands on players’ other stats makes this the hardest set to complete in the game right now.
“Mixed 15’s and 25’s”: Total Radiance: 120
This is the set comprised of the 15 radiance leggings, chest and gloves available from doing the lorien instances (Halls of Crafting, Water Wheels and Hall of Mirrors) or the Dol Guldur instances (Sword Halls, Warg Pens, Dungeons of Dol Guldur and Sammath Gul), as well the 25 radiance helm, shoulders and boots available only from the Dol Guldur instances.
The armour value and stats of these two subsets are simply OK, not bad, not great. The set bonuses are good enough (mitigations, incoming healing, etc).
These can be attained from doing content designed for small fellowships (3-man) and full fellowships (6-man). There are no cooldowns on running the instances. For small group size, minimum single-session time commitment and re-runnability, this set is fairly easy to acquire.
Hardcore players are going to aim for the helegrod set for it’s superior stats and bonuses and great radiance total. It is also likely that any hardcore players who’ve yet to get their complete Barad Guldur sets will still strive for that as well especially considering that none yet know if radiance gating is here to stay… if it is, the higher radiance total from BG is going to keep hardcore players going there.
Casual players will keep a strong eye toward the Annuminas set, it’s super-accessible, features very good stats and requires minimal single-session play times.
This article is part of the “Ask Elborigorn” series, where I encourage CSTM readers to send questions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org . I then will answer the question either with an entire article or as part of a multi-question weekly article.