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.
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.
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.
- 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 ↩
- If your weapon does straight DPS, like a hunter’s bow or champion’s sword, max out your DPS points. Always. ↩
- 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. ↩
- There are also Legendary Traders in Dolven-view, Bree and Egladil (Lothlorien). ↩