Those old First Age weapons you have laying around

In case you haven’t flipped through them, you should take a look at Merric’s Help the Hobbit posts, which (as of this article’s submission time) solicit help in selecting legendary item legacies for the Captain, Minstrel and now the Burglar.  The responses to these posts provide wonderful advice for new players as well as giving insight into how people build their legendary items.

Now that we can move legacies from one legendary item to another, there is no excuse not to have the “perfect” build for your legendary weapon/rune-stone/satchel/emblem for whatever purpose you need to use it.

In our kin chat, we’ve had a couple of lively discussions about legendary items, and I’ve been converted to the view that in some cases (specifically for minstrels and RKs, which I will discuss here)1, a level 59 or 60 First Age legendary item is better to have than a level 75 Second Age legendary item.

Before you continue on, understand that like someone’s virtue/trait build, the legacies that a player selects reflects their own personal play style and needs.  There is no one-size-fits-all LI build.  Accept these views as my own.  As always, comments and feedback are welcome.

First of all, what’s the difference between a First Age, Second Age or Third Age legendary item?  The “Ages” are part of the Tolkien lore; the War of the Ring occurs at the closing of the Third Age and the departure of the elves into the West marks the beginning of the Fourth Age.  Generally speaking, the oldest items from the First Age are more powerful than items from the Second Age, which in turn, are more powerful than items from the Third Age.

In terms of LOTRO mechanics, what it means is that First Age LIs have more points available to them than Second Age LIs, which have more points available to them than Third Age LIs.

From level 1 to 30, all LIs require the same amount of item experience points (IXP) to level up (467,828) and have the same number of points which you can apply to your legacies (350).  However, from level 31 on, a Third Age weapon requires 20,000 IXP to achieve the next level and they gain 8 points per level.  A Second Age weapon requires 40K IXP to level up and they get 10 points per level.  It takes 80K IXP to level up a First Age weapon, but they get 12 points per level.

That means that a Third Age LI at item level 70 will have 1,467,828 IXP in it, and will have 670 points available.  A Second Age LI will have 2,067,828 IXP and have 750 points, while a First Age LI needs a whopping 3,667,828 IXP to get to item level 70, but will have 830 points.  Read more about legendary item experience and points here.

Why do people keep trading in lower-level LIs for higher level ones?

Each LI scales its main power based on the level of the user.  So a RK rune-stone with a minimum user level of 60 will do less tactical damage than an RK rune-stone with a minimum user level of 75.  Same thing with a hunter’s bow; a bow for a level 60 hunter will do less DPS than a bow for a level 75 hunter.

Generally speaking, a level 75 Third Age legendary item will be more valuable for what your class does than a level 65 First or Second Age LI.  This is very true of the minstrel’s songbook and the RK’s rune-satchel, which have as their primary ability tactical healing.  Since these two classes are LOTRO’s main healing classes, it stands to reason that for healing builds, it is more valuable to have the most powerful tactical healing possible.

But what if you don’t need the LI for healing or tactical damage?2  What happens then?

In short, you can take the points you would have put into outgoing healing or tactical damage and apply them to your legacies.

As I’ve mentioned before, and others have pointed out in the Help the Hobbit responses, a minstrel and rune-keeper should have at least two sets of weapon/rune-stone and songbook/rune-satchel:  one for DPS and one for healing. 3

Once you get your four LIs, for your DPS set, you should be putting zero LI points into your book/satchel’s tactical healing.  Similarly, for your healing set, you should not be applying any points to tactical damage in your weapon/rune-stone.

This is where things get a little tricky.  Depending on the legacies you select, in some cases, there is no advantage to having them on a level 75 LI of any age as opposed to having them on a level 50 LI.  These are the legacies that have to do with cooldown time and percentage increases/decreases.

For a minstrel, the following legacies (among others): Rally! Cooldown, Anthem Duration, Healing Threat and Triumphant Spirit Cooldown have the same effects at rank 9 whether your LI is for a level 60 toon or a level 75 toon.  And if you dump a ton of item XP into a level 60 First Age weapon, you’ll easily have enough points to max out all of the tiers of each legacy, making that LI more useful to you than a level 75 Second/Third Age weapon that doesn’t have as many points to allocate.

As an example, to the right is my minstrel’s healing sword.  I’ve put 1800 worth of marks into buying Scrolls of Lesser Empowerment to max out the tiers of the first three major (Pool A) legacies, and it’s almost the “perfect” LI for healing, even though it’s only item level 30 (it will be once I craft up some better relics).  A couple more item levels and I’ll have all the major legacies maxed out.

The RK legacies of Healing Power Cost, Healing Over Time and Healing Attuned Skill Power Cost (among others) are similarly percentage-based and don’t scale with the minimum level required for use.

Note that this will not work with legacies that add a bonus in terms of an item’s rating, such as the minstrel legacies Echoes of Battle Resistance Rating Debuff or Anthem of Composure (Resistance or Tactical Defence).  Same thing for RK legacies like Finesse Rating or Target Shocking Touch Resist Rating.  You will want to put those legacies on a LI for the highest level possible because they will be more powerful on higher level LIs.

So where do you get a level 59 or 60 First Age Legendary Item?

To get a level 59 or 60 First Age LI, you need to accumulate Bright Emblems of Nimrodel.  These drop after killing Nornúan in Filikul, the Watcher in the Water in The Vile Maw and the Mistress of Pestilence in Dâr Narbugud.  You need four for the level 59 LIs and six for the level 60s, and you barter for them in the 21st Hall at the class-specific legendary traders.4  Note that you don’t have to be a minstrel to get a minstrel item from the minstrel Legendary Trader.

So if you’ve got toons who are over-level for Turtle, Watcher or DN, you can use them to farm Bright Emblems of Nimrodel for that toon or another.

Another bonus is that they recently reset the locks (at least in the case of Turtle) from twice a week to every nine hours.  So in a couple of days, you can have a level 59 First Age LI for your toon

I ran Turtle with an 8-man PUG the other night.  We were all over level 70, didn’t have a dedicated healer and we dropped the Turtle like a 7 AM chem lab.  It took us less than 5 minutes.  In fact, the leader spent more time spamming GLFF trying to put the group together than we spent making turtle soup.

The other advantages to using a level 59 or 60 First Ager is that to rank up the tiers of your legacies, you can use Lesser Scrolls of Empowerment, which can be bought from the Legendary vendor at the skirmish camp for a little over 324 marks.  By contrast, Scrolls of Empowerment (for level 65 LIs) cost something like 627 marks, and the Scrolls of Greater Empowerment (up to level 75) cost either 1,045 marks plus 95 medallions or 174 medallions plus 42 seals.  You can also barter tokens for these items or makr them with shards at a relic-master, but those are the prices at the skirmish camp.

Are there any disadvantages to using a level 59/60 First Ager?

The biggest downside of using a level 59/60 First Age LI is that you can’t use some of the more powerful crafted relics.  You can only use the Minor Symbols of Agility/Might/Morale/et al.  At level 75, that means your stat relics will be 20 points lower from the level 60 crafted relics, and 100 morale/power lower.

But my counter question is this:  does that really make that much difference?  A lot of level 75 toons typically have anywhere from 1800-2000 points in the primary stat now that the stat caps have been removed, with some as high as 2600 or 2700.  With diminishing returns, do those extra 20 points of fate have any real effect?

Unbuffed, my minstrel has something like 6800 morale, 7500 power, 1850 points of Will, and 23,000 in tactical mastery.  I do not consider myself to be a hardcore raider or have the best gear in the game.  Personally, I don’t see where an extra 20 points of Will or 100 morale will really make a difference when 7 Sarumans are beating the crap out of the raid in Orthanc, but a LI that has maxed out the tiers on its healing legacies might.

In summary

Using a level 60 First Age LI doesn’t make sense for some classes (like a hunter), but at least for a minstrel and rune-keeper, I think it does under some circumstances.  I have yet to equip and level up a minstrel’s songbook or a RK rune-satchel for my DPS build, but those are next.

If I’m missing something, please let me know or leave pointers in the comments below.  This strategy isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found that it’s working for me.


  1. Other people will have to weigh in on other classes.  My only other 75 right now is a captain, and I only run in Hands of Healing (don’t judge me), so I always max out the tactical healing on the emblem
  2. If your weapon does straight DPS, like a hunter’s bow or champion’s sword, max out your DPS points.  Always.
  3. Some people use a third, but I don’t.  One guy in my kin uses four sets of LIs; each specialises in certain skills, and he has written macros that switch weapons/songbooks, instruments and then triggers the skills.  It’s hella crazy, but he’s the kind of lousy healer that I aspire to be.
  4. There are also Legendary Traders in Dolven-view, Bree and Egladil (Lothlorien).
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About Vræden

I was suckered into playing an MMO by some friends and have been stuck around ever since. My "main" is a minstrel on the Elendilmir server, but I'm a pretty casual player who likes a good raid every now and then. My healing skills are spectacularly average, and I am known as the Elf Queen of Lousy Healing to my friends. I like long walks on the beach, puppies and mowing down orcs by the dozen. If you see me in-game, say hi or send me a tell. You can also email me or follow me on the Twitter.

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23 Responses to “Those old First Age weapons you have laying around”

  1. Chris H Says:

    Good article.

    What’s the whole list of LIs that don’t absolutely need to be level 75?

    - Burg bag
    - Champ DPS rune
    - Minstrel DPS bag
    - Minstrel healing weapon
    - RK healing stone
    - RK DPS bag

    Though personally, I tend to lean towards relics making a 75 LI worth it if I have the symbol (which I have had).

    Reply

    • Thorondir Says:

      i’d add one more:

      Loremaster DPS Book (escpecially if you get one with +5% damage)

      I also would add, what i’d take a lvl 65 first age. It should be easiely obtainable and you can fit better relics. Also 60 and 65 use the same scrolls of emporement.

      Reply

  2. susan Says:

    Interesting read, I always hated to scrap a first age just because of the ‘group’ mentality that says you should, but I never sat down with pen and paper and looked at the numbers.

    Reply

  3. Ayalinda Says:

    The only thing I would add is its not just the crafted relics, but also the singular/Extraordinary/Westfold/Great River relics you get from melding, now the increases between each are fairly minor as you pointed out with the crafted relics. However the big difference is the Lv65 relics have “true” relics. For which there are no lv60/lv75 equivalents. Some (including me) hold these to be some of the best available so by not having a weapon of at least 65 you can’t get that branch of relics.

    One place I would say definitely use a lv60 FA is for so called “swap” equipment, if your not familiar with the term it is where you have a LI with legacies which typically effect the cool-down on long cooldown skills. For example my captain has an emblem with Time of Need Morale Cost, Time of Need Cooldown, Escape from Darkness cooldown, Shield of the dunedain cooldown, Strength of will bonus and Focus ICPR: rating (yes that is worse but I’m not going to have another emblem just for that)

    Reply

    • Avatar of Vræden
      Vræden Says:

      I forgot about the melded relics, and you are absolutely correct.

      However, the more powerful melded relics require a tremendous investment of relics and shards, and in my observations, most casual players use the regular relics you get from the standard combinations.

      As I said, thhis LI strategy isn’t for every player or every circumstance; I just hate to see people blowing up First Agers when they don’t really have to.

      Reply

  4. Cory Says:

    For the same reason Ayalinda states, I personally won’t use a level 60 for any item other than a swap item, whether or not it needs to be a 75 second age. On that note though, since you’re not spending any points in the DPS or healing of a LI, you don’t need as high of an age on it either usually. A 75 third age will work in a lot of these situations.

    One other note: LM DPS books work exceptionally well as first ages, even if they’re a little lower on some of the legacies. For a trade-off of having a little lower fire crit and a little lower damage/fire resist legacies (both of which were made less useful with the addition of finesse), you can gain a straight 1-5% tactical damage from the additional passive you gain from a first age.

    Reply

  5. Crell of Riddermark, Vanguard Says:

    Thank you for writing up this in a way that will force people to really stop and consider why they’re switching up to a new LI.

    Reply

  6. Geldarion Says:

    Don’t forget that some ratings improve as you go up in level. For example, my captain’s buff sword was a 60 1st Age, but the rating for Relentless Attack goes up with level, so even a 3rd Age has better ratings at level 75. However, the 60 1st age was better than a 65 2nd age.

    Reply

  7. Jan Says:

    ///

    Quote: “This is very true of the minstrel’s songbook and the RK’s rune-satchel, which have as their primary ability tactical healing. Since these two classes are LOTRO’s main healing classes, it stands to reason that for healing builds, it is more valuable to have the most powerful tactical healing possible.”

    I’m not getting this completely. Is the Tactical healing rating amount on a Rune-Keepers runebag different on the different Ages and/or levels?

    Can a RK healer use lvl 60 First Agers for healing without having any downsides except for the crafted relics? Or is the runebags base stat “tactical healing” lower when i max it out?

    ///

    Reply

    • Ayalinda Says:

      Maximum Tactical Healing increases with minimum level and age. But a TA lv75 bag will far out perform a FA lv60 bag.

      I think you have misuderstood the article. Its saying you can use a lv60 Stone for healing and a lv60 Bag for DPS with only a small effect on your performance (and sometimes an improvment on third age items)

      Reply

    • Avatar of Vræden
      Vræden Says:

      Ayalinda is correct; it is advantageous to use a level 75 Third Age RK satchel (or minstrel songbook) to heal over a level 60 First Ager. The maximum tactical healing is always higher. However, for a DPS rune-satchel or songbook, the tactical healing rating of your satchel/songbook shouldn’t be a factor.

      Reply

  8. Cyraith Says:

    I’ve been doing this for a while on my RK. I’ve got:

    1 75 SA DPS Stone
    1 60 FA DPS Satchel
    1 60 FA Healing Stone
    1 75 SA DPS Satchel.

    My champ also uses this setup:
    1 75 SA 2h Sword
    1 60 FA Fervor Rune
    1 60 FA Ard/Glo Rune

    It works on the champ since your Incoming Healing isn’t *that* important compared to your ability to deal DPS. Further, unless the champ is tanking, he shouldn’t be taking that much damage. I’ve got almost 0 points invested in the IncHeal stat since my champ is a fervor/ardour champ. In this setup, I can survive TOO Saruman easily and really pack a punch.

    I plan on doing this on my captain as well.

    I can easily see how a hunter could use a 60FA for their sword (since the bow kills anything before it gets close :P). I don’t know if it would work for LMs or Wardens in any way, but those alts aren’t that high.

    Reply

  9. Greg Says:

    You’re right on with Cappy emblems. When I switched from a level 59 1st ager with all of the legacies maxed out to a lvl 75 2nd ager with most of the legacies maxed out (but the right ones), the overall increase to tactical healing was massive. Totally worth the work. Not sure if it would be worth it for someone now with the price hike in scrolls and RoR coming up.

    Reply

  10. Dan Says:

    This post illustrates why the entire LI system gives me a migraine. I just want clear progression in my items. If I add points, or if they are a higher level, I want them to be “better,” simple as that. Instead, we have this misbegotten mishmash of Ages and Levels and Ranks and Tiers that requires advanced calculus (or posts like this) to understand. I started out with 3rd age items in the 50s. Then I switched to 3rd age items in the 60s and 70s. Now, I have 2nd age items in the 60s.. which are probably not better, but since they are shinier I’m going with them for now. Maybe someday I will even catch sight of a 1st age item.

    Reply

  11. Greg Says:

    My Legendary run-down for my toons is…

    Cappy
    75 2nd age Weapons, main 2h with crit buff has 1 starlit which bumps the max a wee bit
    75 2nd age emblem

    Burg
    75 2ng Age Weapons
    60 2nd Age bag

    Champ
    75 2nd Age Weapons
    65 1st Age Run, nice thing is you get access a lot better melded relics at 65

    Warden
    75 2nd Age Weapons, only used the scrolls that came from epics and draig so kinda lame but have the right legs maxed

    Reply

  12. Stormwaltz Says:

    My 73 LM is still using a Second Age staff she found years ago, in the early areas of Moria. The way I play, I rarely see a 2nd Age (and *never* a 1st Age), and everything I’ve found since then has been for other classes. My Tome LI is a 3rd Ager from a few levels back… I think I found it near the end of Enedwaith.

    Reply

  13. Rasmius Says:

    This post helps bring some much-needed focus to a system that can often be overwhelming to use. Thank you Vræden. My minstrel will definitely make use of this!

    Reply

  14. Avatar of Bregyn
    Bregyn Says:

    I might have to see if I can keep churning out lvl60 LM books. My lvl65 1st age is 3% it would be nice to find the max, but I probably won’t like the drop in relics, lvl65 DPS mastery/crit orientated crafted relic setup is very suitable but most are not available to lvl60. ATM my mastery is 127% with 1st age 65 and 124% with my 75 second age, but I use a morale/power setup on my 75 relics… I lose about 1k morale and power when switching to DPS. As a result I keep it on hot-swap for using high DPS skills chains only, usually when I come around to utilising Sage’s Insight.

    I am pretty happy with the LI system. I know a lot of people are not but I love this level of detail, if I had my own way I would make it even more complex :o

    Reply

  15. Avatar of Matthew
    Matthew Says:

    I know LOTRO is a “different world” than is the Middle-earth of the books.

    But… The statement “Legendary Items from the First Age are more powerful than Legendary Items from the Second Age” seems to ignore about 20 specific items made in the Second Age… Something about Three, Seven, Nine and One…

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Vraeden's Introductory Guide to Raiding, Part 2 | Casual Stroll to Mordor - December 18, 2012

    [...] Even if it’s not one that you want, you will have an extra major legacy slot on that item. You can replace it with another—more desirable—legacy later. But you won’t always get the chance to put a fourth, fifth or even a sixth major legacy on a LI.  See the above screenshot of my healing sword; it’s a level 75 Second Ager that I keep around because I don’t need to put points into tactical damage. [...]

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