Dev Diary: Itemization in Update 10

February 21, 2013


A new Developer Diary has been released by Jonathan “RockX” Steady discussing Itemization changes coming in Update 10.  Within the diary he touches on the “two main areas which have seen some major changes”.

Scaling Instances

  • All Classic Instances (other than Helegrod) have had their loot completely revamped.

    Photo courtesy of Rorimli

    • Completely new loot
    • Ranges from Rare to Legendary
    • Each instance cluster has loot focused around different gear types
  • They will now use Remote Looting
  • 3 and 6-man Dungeons
    • The final boss’s chest will be able to drop equipment
    • Other chests will drop Legendary Item (LI) materials (I’m assuming relics, sealed runes, Item XP relics, etc.)
  • Raids
    • Equipment will be linked to each boss chest
    • Challenge modes will have an additional chest

For the most part I’m a fan of these changes.  The only thing I’m a bit hesitant about is the way that they focused the loot of instance clusters for different group roles.  To quote RockX:

Each instance cluster is now focused on a handful of different gear types, so DPS looking for a necklace would want to run instances and raids from cluster X, while Tanks looking for a necklace would want to run cluster Y.

While I haven’t had any experience running the recent clusters in LOTRO (so I may be speaking out of ignorance) I do foresee that this decision could cause a potential problems in the formation of groups.  If DPS people only want to run certain clusters and Tanks want to run others, then will there be enough motivation for them to compromise on which ones they’ll run?  In past games it has been my experience that people typically queue for the dungeons for which they feel they have the potential to gain the most rewards.  This results in different roles queuing up for separate clusters which leads to groups taking longer to fill; especially in LOTRO since there is no easy way for players to switch their traits and virtues on-the-fly.

It’s also been my experience that when it comes to pre-existing/regular groups there can be some additional discussion about which cluster/dungeon the group should run since some roles in the group are generally going to have to resolve to running the dungeon without the opportunity for loot. (Yes, I know that most of these groups are formed and maintained for social reasons, but everyone likes new toys once-in-a-while.)

Again, I haven’t looked in-depth into how the loot is split up between clusters so please feel free to input your thoughts in the comments below.

Update:  It’s been clarified that the instances will contain items for all group archetypes, but that each cluster will focus on a different slot for each one.

It appears there was definitely room for confusion with what I wrote for the Dev Diary, and I can definitely see why now in hindsight. I apologize for the confusion which has been brought up in this thread.

To expand a little on what Rowan wrote yesterday:
Each Instance Cluster is focused around a handful of item types and roles. For example, Cluster A might give DPS Bracelets, DPS Off-hands, Tanking Heads, Tanking Rings, Healing Hands, Healing Legs, etc.
Each Instance within the cluster has its own Rare and/or Incomparable loot, based off what was assigned to the cluster, and every revamped instance has equipment which is usable by each class.

This should help to encourage players to run different instances, as different pieces of gear will drop for them in different spaces.

I have to say I do like the option of running a cluster of dungeons rather than a single dungeon for items, but we’ll have to see how this will affect grouping post Update 10.

Set Bonuses


  • Sets will now either give stats or skill modifying effects
  • Skill modifying effects have been moved from the 3 & 5 set bonuses and moved to the 2 & 4 set bonuses

The reason behind this change, RockX states is begrudgingly logical in that when the end game gear gives both bonus stats and skill modifiers, players will only want to replace that gear with similar gear; i.e. the next end-game armor.  Also, Turbine would need to keep increasing the stats on end-game armor sets as they are released in order to make the bonuses seem a worthwhile upgrade.

Admittedly this makes sense to me.  It’s very logical.  However, when I compare the armor I have in-game now to what it will be once Update 10 is released I can’t help but feel a pang of loss at all the stats that will be disappearing.  In essence it makes me a sad panda.  .


Other highlights of the diary include:

  • Two new sets of gear from the Erebor raids
    • Each class will have a “lesser” and “greater” set
    • The lesser set is available for marks, medallions and seals at the skirmish vendors and will require the completion of Tier 1 raids.
    • The greater set will require the corresponding lesser piece, new “gems” that drop from the raids, and the completed Tier 2 of the appropriate raid.
      • There are four gems
      • They are not bound (they can be traded and sold on the AH)
      • They are also used to upgrade the Rohan Warband rings to Legendary Quality
      • They are also required for some new crafting recipes

I’m pretty interested to see some of how this plays out.  I think that making the “gems” not bound is a good move, but their existence does leave me wondering if there really needs to be another (random?) currency implemented towards earning “the best” gear.  Shouldn’t the completion of a T2 raid be enough of a requirement to get “the best” gear in the game?  Let me know what you think chiming in on this and the other changes in the comments below!

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About Merric

Co-founder of CSTM and an avid LOTRO fan.

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17 Responses to “Dev Diary: Itemization in Update 10”

  1. davidt Says:

    What about set bonuses for earlier sets such as the Fem sets, etc?


  2. Thamorian Says:

    I have to admit that is a little disappointing about the loss of stat increases on the Hytbold sets. Although I could totally see wearing two pieces from each of the three sets.


  3. Pasduil Says:

    > foresee that this decision could cause a potential problems in the formation of groups

    You put it rather mildly.

    Me, I’d say this is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve heard of, up there with the 4000TP hobby-horse and that thing of everyone in a group having to hit a mob to get credit for a kill. Like those fiascoes, it makes me wonder if anyone at Turbine actually plays the game, or even talks to anyone that does.

    This would make putting groups together a nightmare.

    Best case, you have good buddies who help each other out and run all the instances everyone needs. Even then, only one in three runs is worthwhile for you personally, so the others are chore and grind that you put up with. Everything takes three times longer and the game is a lot less fun.

    Worst case, it becomes next to impossible to form decent PUGs, and casual players with limited time and lacking a regular group might as well forget about doing instances.

    Hopefully this time they will realize this would be a big mistake and not even do it. Rather than do it regardless of player feedback, get a wall of complaints, and eventually grudgingly roll it back.


    • Thorcar Says:

      I agree that there is the potential for difficulties in finding groups to run certain instances. The one thing that they can do to make any instance desirable for all classes to run is to make sure they give seals. Everybody will need seals but I am not sure if they have said whether or not they will drop from the classic instances.


    • Tule Says:

      I think this change of different clusters for different gear types would work for dedicated raiding groups or kinships. Ie, they’re all about making sure everyone in their circle is geared up. But it will fail abysmally for casual pick up groups. And this game is a casual game where pick up groups are the norm.

      Already we have these problems today. Trying to get a skirmish raid going and some players will complain that the chosen skirmish doesn’t drop the right stuff for them.


    • Thurinphir Says:

      I read it like; tanks would get a necklace from instance X and an earring from instance Y, Agility-ers would get an earring from instance X and a necklace from instance Y and so on
      this would solve *some* of the problems, but LOTRO will NEVAH be perfect (just exceptionally good) :)


  4. Rorimli Says:

    That’s an old picture you find there :D


  5. Joshua Says:

    FYI, Rowan posted a brief <a href=""follow-up response to answer questions about the “DPS goes to Cluster X” thing. As far as I can tell, it’s not actually any different from what’s on Live now, except that non-BG/Erebor clusters will (in theory) actually have loot worth equipping:

    “I talked this through with Rock, and want to clarify a bit.

    The design intention here is not to route every tank (and their group) through the same instance cluster repeatedly. The goal is to give you motivation to go to multiple spaces, with available items for many classes in each cluster. The gear drops have been distributed across clusters.”


  6. Rivenor Says:

    I wonder what their reason was for making the gear sets drop this way. I would love to know their reasoning on it, because maybe I don’t see something they did. But I can totally see how it can discourage decent groups.

    At the same time you have to kind of agree that it could be helpful. Instead of worrying that NOTHING for your class will drop, you will know that at least SOMETHING will drop that applies to you specifically. No more ‘i did the run but only light gear drops D:”


  7. susan Says:

    ugh. will have to see how it pans out, at least they are working on it


  8. Avatar of andyb
    andyb Says:

    I quite like the idea of having the 2 varieties of gear sets, although I do think that the raid based ones should be locked in some way by deed gating or something if the gems are going to be unbound.

    Without some kind of barrier there’s nothing to stop someone hiring a raid to kit them out or for the gear gems to become another overpriced item on the AH.

    Easy prediction that if the gems are unbound and not gated then you’ll find people running raids with the sole intent of selling the gems on rather than letting someone else in the raid take the thing that they’d actually make use of.


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