Tag Archives: traits

Lord of the Rings Online – Virtues, Traits and Deeds! (part five)

This is the fifth article in a series of articles about the Trait system in Lord of the Rings Online.  This article covers Class based Traits.  You can check out the previous articles here – 1, 2, 3, 4 or on the articles page.

Introduction

Of all the Traits in the Lord of the Rings Online system, Class Traits are the most numerous.  As the name suggests, they are all unique on a per class basis, and there are many of them to choose from.  More than any other Trait, Class Traits will affect how your character performs in nearly all combat situations.  They change skills, improve effects, remove or replace abilities and generally have a profound impact on what your character can achieve.

Since there are so many of them, this article is not going to cover them all in any specific detail.  Instead it will focus on the general system, the Class Trait sets introduced in the Moria expansion and the bonuses they bring, and provide resources where you can find out more about what Traits your favourite character gets.

Gaining Class Traits

Earning Class Traits is the same for every class, and every Trait.  From level 15 upwards, using various class skills will trigger a new Deed.  That Deed will require you to use the same skill a certain number of times, at the end of that process you will earn the particular Class Trait as a reward.  Not all skills trigger Deeds at the same time, and since skills are earned at varying levels, you’ll earn the Class Traits at different rates as well.  Also, not all the Deeds are equally difficult and many are affected by play style.  For example, you may use Quick Thrust 50 times in a fight but use Shield Bash once per day, and as a result, you’re going to earn Deeds at different rates.  The intent I believe is to emulate improving your character in-line with those skills you use most often.  However, it doesn’t always work out that neatly because some underused skills are much improved by their Deeds so while you would not normally use them, you are eager to do so to gain the improved version.

The following image shows the Deed window open at the list of Class Traits, the progress of one of those Traits and details about how many uses are still required to complete the Deed.

Class Trait Deed Window

The number of times a skill can be used each day in order to progress a Class Trait Deed varies, and is usually based on the skill cool-down and whether it needs to be used in combat or not.  Non-combat skills tend to have a smaller use per day limit (5, 10 or 15 for example), while combat related skills that refresh quickly tend to be much higher (in the hundreds).  The number of times you must use the skill to complete the Deed also varies and can be in the low 10’s to 2000 or more.  For some skills you use all the time this won’t be an issue, but for other skills you’ll have to remind yourself to do something about using them, and as you can see above, you can add the Deed progress to your quest tracker sidebar as a reminder.

It is generally true that combat skills must be used on enemies which return experience points in order to qualify as having successfully used them to progress the Deed, and likewise, if you use a skill and miss, it may not count (usually skill dependant).

As you can imagine, all this adds up to mean that progressing Class Trait based Deeds can be very time consuming and something you need to work at, rather than just happening by default.  It also means you could still be working on them well beyond level 50.

Equipping Class Traits

Class Traits are equipped in the same way all Traits are, by visiting a Bard.  You’ll see the same dialog, and you simply select the Class Traits you have available from the left, as shown in the screenshot below.

Viewing Class Traits

Class Traits are viewed using the regular Trait dialog, but there is an added element of complexity since the release of the Mines of Moria – Class Trait sets.  Each Class Trait belongs to one of three different sets, the process is covered in more detail in the next section, but it results in there being three screens to look at when viewing your Class Traits.

At the opening screen of the Trait dialog, you can see your class Traits and on the right side all the bonuses you have earned (more on bonuses later), this is shown in the following screenshot.

Once you click on the ‘Class’ tab in the dialog, there is a further tab at the bottom of the dialog which selects which of the Trait sets you are viewing.  An example of a single classes set of Traits is shown below (click on each image for a larger version).



The icons in the Class Trait section are similar to the Virtue section.  A diamond on each edge means the Trait is equipped.  A coloured icon with no diamonds means the Trait has been earned but is not equipped.  A light grey icon with a ring means that a Deed is in progress to earn this Trait but is not yet complete, and a grey icon with no ring means that no progress is being  made to earn this Trait.

On the right of the dialog you will see a list of bonuses, they are explained in more detail in the next section.

Class Trait Sets

Prior to the Mines of Moria expansion, classes had a single list of Traits.  Sometimes they complimented each other, and in some ways groups of them directed the character towards certain roles.  With Moria, this was formalised into three sets for each class.  There is no requirement to only use Traits from a specific set, however, there are incentives to do so.   Each set is designed to give a character a certain focus, for example with Guardians there is a Trait set for generating more hate, a Trait set for doing damage with two-handed weapons and a Trait set for lasting longer in fights with single large enemies.  Each set has a name and a brief description which you can read.

Within each set, the Traits are geared towards the stated aim of that set, although it’s not always entirely obvious why some Traits are included (however since the Traits existed before the sets, there’s probably a few they just had to find homes for).  As mentioned, you are not penalised for picking Traits from a mix of sets, and it’s a valid approach to get the customisations you want.

However, if you do pick Traits from within a single set, the more you equip, the better the resulting set bonus is, and eventually, you earn the chance to equip a set specific Legendary Trait.  That list of bonuses are shown on the right side of the Class Trait window, as shown in the previous section.

Each set provides a minor bonus with 2 Traits equipped, better bonuses at 3, the best bonuses at 4 and with 5 equipped you get an additionally Legendary Trait which you may then use.  You do get all the bonuses you are eligible for, so picking two Traits from one set and three from another gives you two different sets of bonuses.  Changing your equipped Traits later will change the bonus and if you become ineligible for the Legendary Trait then you will no longer be able to use it.

The following screenshots show a Champion class Trait window.  Hovering over an equipped Trait in a set shows you any bonuses in effect.  The first shows a Trait from a set with only one Trait equipped (no bonuses) and the second from a set with 5 Traits equipped (all bonuses).

Class Trait Window - showing no set bonuses
Class Trait Window - showing set bonuses

As well as being listed when you hover over skills, the bonuses in effect are listed in the basic Trait dialog.  This is a repeat of the dialog shown earlier, on the right-hand side you can see the three bonuses that are in effect due to having 4+ Traits equipped from the same set, and no more than 1 from any other set (in this case).

It is well worth taking the time to understand the three different sets, what they mean for your character and which Traits you need to earn to achieve them.  It is not cheap to move Class Traits around, but it is one area that might support different play styles (solo vs grouped for example).

Summary

Class Traits provides the greatest and most visible customisations of your character.  They are the Trait above all other Traits that affect everything your character does.  They can totally change the way in which your character behaves during different kinds of combat and let you focus on the play style you enjoy most.

You can find out more about your Class Traits over at the Lotro Wiki, and you can check out information on Trait Sets (and all the Class Traits in them) at the Lotro Lorebook.

Lord of the Rings Online – Virtues, Traits and Deeds! (part four)

This is the fourth article in the series of posts on the Lord of the Rings Trait system (including Virtues and Deeds).  This part of the series covers Race based Traits.  You can find parts one, two and three under those links.

Introduction

Each of the four races in the Lord of the Rings online game (Men, Hobbits, Elves and Dwarves) have a set of 9 unique Traits.  The Traits try and complement the particular mythology or maybe enhance stereotypes of the race in question.  In all cases, eight of the Traits come from Deeds related to monster killing and one Trait comes from a purchased item (sold by a reputation vendor in each race’s home city).

Although the Traits are in theory unique, in order to try and balance things out Turbine have ensured the races get similar classes of Trait.  For example, each race gets a Trait which affects fellowship manoeuvre’s (FM’s), one which provides a +20 bonus to one character attribute, one which provides a fast travel skill to a starting location, one which provides an increase in damage from certain weapons, etc.  As the Traits get harder to earn (higher level creatures), they get more unique.

Gaining Racial Traits

Each Race has a set of three creatures to which they show great enmity.  Eight of the Racial Traits are earned by killing creatures in those categories.  The types of creatures to be killed highlight one area where earning Racial Traits is not an equally difficult activity for all races.  Elves and Dwarves must kill enemies which only come in Signature and Elite varieties for two of their Traits while Men and Hobbits do not suffer this issue.  Other than that disparity, the process is the same for all races.  For any one creature type there are two or three Deeds required, each opens up at a certain level and requires the previous level to be completed.  They are named Enmity of the Creature I, II or III depending on which rank is being worked on.

For example, in the case of Dwarves they can earn Enmity of the Dourhands I at level 13 (when killing any Dourhand will trigger the Deed), but may not start Enmity of the Dourhands II until they are level 19 and have completed Enmity of the Dourhands I.

The ninth Racial Trait is always purchased in the character’s home town, from the reputation vendor.  It’s a page that when read, creates a Deed which provides the Trait as a reward, already completed.  You need Friend standing with the relevant reputation to purchase the item.  This Trait always provides bonuses to 3 Virtues, and importantly, allows an equipped Virtue to rise to rank 11.  For example, the Virtuous Man Race Trait provides +1 to Confidence, Justice, and Patience.  Equipping that Racial Trait would allow you to take those three Virtues to rank 11 (the normal limit being rank 10), as well as automatically increasing them by 1 rank when equipped.

Equipping / Viewing Racial Traits

Racial Traits are equipped at a Bard like any other Trait (at the cost of around 22 silver each).  Each character may have up to 5 Racial Traits equipped from their choice of 9.

Trait Dialog - Race

The Trait dialog shows you your currently equipped Race Traits, as shown below.

Virtue Dialog - Race

Race Traits – Complete list

The following tables list all the different Race based Traits, and information relating to each of them (such as required level, benefit, and associated Deed).

Race of Man – Traits

Level Deed Trait Benefit
13 Enmity of the Dead I (50) Upper-cut Short distance Melee attack
13 Enmity of the Wargs I (50) Man of the Fourth Age +20 Will
19 Enmity of the Dead II (100) Tactics and Might Bonus Adds 5% to FM healing and damage
25 Enmity of the Dead III (150) Man Sword-damage Bonus Increases 1H and 2H sword damage
29 Enmity of the Wargs II (150) Return to Bree Fast travel to Bree
30 Enmity of the Hillmen I (150) Balance of Man +1% to Evade, Parry, and Block
35 Enmity of the Hillmen II (250) Strength of Morale Skill which restores ~3000 morale
35 Enmity of the Wargs III (150) Duty-Bound Skill which temporarily increases fellowship member morale
35 Friend of Men of Bree Virtuous Man +1 Confidence, Justice, Patience

 

Elves – Traits

Level Deed Trait Benefit
13 Enmity of the Goblins I (50) Sylvan Shadows Skill which provides Stealth ability
13 Enmity of the Orcs I (50) Friend of Man +20 Fate
19 Enmity of the Goblins II (100) Tactics and Conviction Bonus Adds 5% to FM healing and power
25 Enmity of the Goblins III (150) Elf Bow-damage Bonus Increases bow damage
29 Enmity of the Orcs II (150) Return to Rivendell Fast travel to Rivendell
30 Enmity of the Drakes I (150) Elf One-handed Sword Damage Bonus Increases 1h sword damage
35 Enmity of the Drakes II (250) Power of the Eldar Skill which temporarily increases fellowship member power
35 Enmity of the Orcs III (150) Eldar’s Grace Skill which provides temporary improvement to Parry
35 Friend of Elves of Rivendell Virtuous Elf +1 Wisdom, Patience, Charity

 

Dwarves – Traits

Level Deed Trait Benefit
13 Enmity of the Dourhands I (50) Head-butt Short distance Melee attack
13 Enmity of the Goblins I (50) Fateful Dwarf +20 Fate
19 Enmity of the Dourhands II (100) Guile and Might Bonus Adds 5% to FM damage and DOTs
25 Enmity of the Dourhands III (150) Dwarf Axe-damage Bonus Increases 1H and 2H axe damage
29 Enmity of the Goblins II (150) Return to Thorin’s Gate Fast travel to Thorin’s Gate
30 Enmity of the Trolls I (150) Dwarf-endurance Skill which increases fellowship vitality
35 Enmity of the Goblins III (150) Endurance of Stone Skill which provides mitigation improvements
35 Enmity of the Trolls II (250) Shield Brawler Increases Block chance
35 Friend of Thorin’s Hall Virtuous Dwarf +1 Fidelity, Honesty, Loyalty

 

Hobbits – Traits

Level Deed Trait Benefit
13 Enmity of the Spiders I (50) Hobbit-stature +20 Might
13 Enmity of the Wolves I (50) Stoop for a Stone Ranged attack skill
19 Enmity of the Wolves II (100) Guile and Conviction Bonus Adds 5% to FM healing and DoT’s
25 Enmity of the Wolves III (150) Hobbit Club-damage Bonus Increases 1h and 2h club damage
29 Enmity of the Spiders II (150) Return to Michel Delving Fast travel to Michel Delving
30 Enmity of the Goblins I (150) Hobbit-Stealth Stealth skill
35 Enmity of the Goblins II (250) Hobbit-Silence Feign death skill
35 Enmity of the Spiders III (150) Hobbit-resilience Provides a non-stacking Hope buff for the fellowship
35 Friend of Men of The Mathom Society Virtuous Hobbit +1 Empathy, Honesty, Idealism

You can see those tables laid out much more nicely over at the lotro-wiki – here.

Summary

Race based Traits allow you to enhance the natural talents of your character as dictated by their race.  Some of them are very useful, for example the Hobbit-Silence Trait is invaluable regardless of the class your Hobbit picks, and the huge heal that Men can obtain is a source of jealousy for many other races.  The most often sought after skill is the fast travel skill, since any method of reducing journey time in Middle Earth is worth the effort.

Lord of the Rings Online – Virtues, Traits and Deeds! (part three)

This is the third post in a series of articles about the Trait system in the online roleplaying game, Lord of the Rings Online.  You can see all the posts in this series by checking the Articles page, under ‘Virtues, Traits and Deeds (Lord of the Rings Online)’ (this link should take you to the V’s).

Update: This article was updated on 2nd January 2010 to correct the section on the Virtue Dialog.

Introduction

The first type of Trait you’re likely to earn in the Lord of the Rings Online is a Virtue.  For the most part they are given as rewards to Deeds, although it’s possible to obtain them in other ways as well.  Virtues carry the names of good qualities such as Charity, Valour and Justice.  In this article I do not intend to list all the Virtues and their benefits, there are much better resources out there which do that.  I really just want to provide an overview on what they are, where you get them and how you use them.

Benefits

All Virtues provide three different benefits and each specific benefit is also provided by three different Virtues, but the amount of benefit given varies.  For a particular benefit, one Virtue provides the most benefit, a second Virtue provides a middle-amount and the third Virtue provides the least amount.  Here’s a concrete example using the Justice, Determination and Tolerance Virtues.

  • Justice provides increases to in-combat morale regeneration, base morale and out-of-combat morale regeneration.  The primary benefit of Justice is in-combat morale regeneration (+6 per rank).  No other Virtue provides this much increase per rank.
  • Determination provides increases to agility, in-combat morale regeneration and base morale.  The primary benefit of Determination is agility (+3 per rank), and in-combat morale regeneration is a secondary benefit (+4.5 per rank).
  • Tolerance gives increases to tactical damage mitigation (primary), agility (secondary) and in-combat morale regeneration (tertiary benefit).  The agility increase is less than Determination (at +2 per rank) and the in-combat morale regeneration is less than both Justice and Determination (at +3 per rank).

So, for any particular benefit which interests you, there will be three different Virtues which provide it.  However, they provide it in decreasing value.  One Virtue has it as a primary benefit, giving you the greatest increase, another has it as a secondary benefit and a third Virtue has it as a tertiary benefit.  This system allows for a reasonably complex set of interactions and dependencies.

Gaining Virtues

As mentioned previously, for the most part Virtues are obtained by completing deeds.  These are usually location based enemy kill deeds, but also include quest line completion deeds and location discovery deeds.  Deeds usually provide a single rank increase to the Virtue although there are a small number of deeds which give 2 Virtue ranks.

If you do not have one of the Virtue traits, then completing any deed which provides any number of ranks gives you the new Trait (which you may then equip via a Bard).  If you already have the Virtue at any rank, then any deed which gives that Virtue increases the rank appropriately (up to a maximum rank of 10, at the time of writing).

The reward section of the deed dialog shows which Virtue will be affected, and what rank it will be increased to.  It does not show the number of ranks you will get in addition to those you already have, but the final rank you will be at if you get the reward.  For example, the image below shows that on completing the deed listed (The Ruins of Breeland), the Patience Virtue will increase to rank 4.

Deed Window - example 2

If another deed is completed before this one which also increases Patience, the reward would change to show the rank as 5.

It does not matter what level your character is, and what level the enemies or location you’re fighting in is.  If you’re level 65 and you do a deed in Breelands which gives you +1 to Tolerance for killing 40 spiders, you’ll get the increase.  There are more ways of earning Virtue ranks than there are ranks of a Virtue so you’ll have some choice if you want to max your Virtues out.

Characters can earn Virtues as soon as they can start completing deeds which provide them (realistically, this will be around level 6-8), but they may not equip their first Virtue until level 7.  Subsequent Virtue Trait slots open up at levels 9, 11, 17 and 23.

Equipping Virtues

Virtues are equipped by visiting a Bard, and using the first tab in the Trait management dialog (shown below) which lists all the Virtues you have earned and what rank they currently are (shown as orange squares).

Bard Trait Dialog

As you can see, you can have five Virtues equipped at most at any one time.  That’s a pretty small number considering there are 20 different Virtues in the game (and hence, 20 different benefits that can be obtained).  Virtues are probably the traits that get swapped around the most (especially those that give increases to different types of damage resistance).  Changing a Virtue Trait is reasonably inexpensive compared to other Traits.

Viewing Virtues

You can look at your current Virtues using the Trait window in two ways.  The first tab shows your equipped Virtues and we’ve seen this dialog before.  Hovering the mouse over a Trait icon shows you the benefits provided by that Trait.

Trait Window - level 53 champion

If you click the Virtues tab of the Trait dialog you get a wheel-like layout, showing the 20 Virtues in the game, your current rank (if any) in each of them.  It looks like this.

Virtue Trait Dialog

There are four different icon styles in the Virtue dialog, and they each mean something different, allowing you to see what state of progression each of your character’s Virtues are.

Virtue Icon - no ranks earned A totally grey icon with the number 1, no gold bars below it and no gold ring.  Your character has earned no ranks in this Virtue, and currently has no Deeds under-way which might provide any ranks.
Virtue Icon - Not equipped, but progressing A grey icon, with a number representing the number of Virtue ranks the character has earned, along with a matching number of gold bars underneath and a gold quest ring.  This icon means your character does not have this Virtue equipped, but they have earned the listed number of ranks and they have at least one Deed underway which will provide further ranks in this Virtue.  Clicking this icon will open the Deed dialog on one Deed which is underway and provides this Virtue.
Virtue Icon - Not equipped and not progressing A colour icon, with a number representing the number of Virtue ranks the character has earned, along with a matching number of gold bars underneath but no gold quest ring.  This icon means your character does not have this Virtue equipped, but they have earned the listed number of ranks.  However, they have no Deeds under-way which provide this Virtue and hence are not currently earning any further ranks.
Virtue Icon - Equipped A colour icon surrounded by four diamonds, with a number representing the number of Virtue ranks the character has earned, along with a matching number of gold bars underneath but no gold quest ring.  This icon means your character does have this Virtue equipped and they have earned the listed number of ranks.  The ring does not indicate either way if  the character is or is not earning any further ranks – however like the previous icon you can click and if they are working on any Deeds which provide this Virtue, the Deed window will be opened.

Hovering the mouse over an icon lists the benefits, as shown below for the Loyalty Virtue.

Virtue Trait Dialog - with Tooltip

Summary

Virtues are the trait your character will start earning earliest.  There are 20 Virtues, and they provide benefits to 20 different character attributes.  Each benefit is improved by three different Virtues, and all Virtues provide three different benefits.  They are cheap to switch around, and progressing them all to rank 10 will keep you busy long past the point where you reach the current level cap in-game.

For a full list of the benefits of Virtues, check out this page at the Lotro-Wiki site, and for an extremely useful resource for working out how to get the Virtues you want, check out the Virtues page at BurgZerg.

Lord of the Rings Online – Virtues, Traits and Deeds! (part two)

This is part two of a series of posts about the Trait system in the MMO game – Lord of the Rings Online.  The series started with this post.  This time, I’ll be focussing on the Deed system in the game since most of the methods of earning Traits rely on it.

Introduction

There are two main mechanisms for tracking progress on activities in Lord of the Rings online.  They are the quest tracker and the deed system.  The quest tracker is where most of the XP earning activity of your character is focussed, while the deed system covers the other stuff.  That other stuff includes titles and traits, and sometimes reputation or items.

The key difference between quests and deeds is that starting a quest involves finding someone who needs you to do something (for the most part), while starting deeds tends to be more accidental and passive.

What are Deeds

Deeds are actions your character has completed which are either more general in nature or more epic in nature than a single quest.  For example, a single quest may have you trying to locate a lost fortress, while a deed might encompass finding all the fortresses in a particular area.  Deeds are things that people hear about, things that bring you renown and hence lead to titles or changes to your character to reflect the journey that they have undertaken.

When others hear that you have vanquished 200 orcs in the Lonelands you will find them calling you by a title, or if you find yourself favouring a particular attack you may find that attack becomes both more efficient and more deadly, by completing 60 quests in the Shire you might find you’ve joined the Bounders in the defence of their land, etc.

Starting a deed is a passive activity.  They are started when you complete the first step in them, even if you don’t know what that step is.  When you kill your first Goblin in the Breelands you might find you’ve been given a new deed to kill 50 of them, or when you find your first lost fortress in the North Downs you are given a deed to find them all, or even using a particular skill presents a learning opportunity and using that skill another 900 times brings you some insight and more deadly force.  You’ll see some text pop up on the screen, and an icon in the notification area telling you that you’ve been assigned a new deed.  Clicking the icon opens the deed window (see below) which gives more details about what you need to achieve.

One of the complications is that deeds are sometimes level linked.  Completing an activity at level 5 won’t give you the deed, but the same thing at level 15 might.  This is particularly true for deeds that result in Class, Racial and Legendary traits.  In the first 20 or so levels, you’ll find you build up a lot of potential deeds, and complete few of them.  As you gain levels you’ll get time to go back and complete those deeds to round out your character, while earning new deeds from new locations further on.

Some of the more common deeds are,

  • Kill deeds – you must kill a certain number of a particular creature in a specific area.  The basic deed tends to give you a title, and the advanced deed (started when you complete the basic one) tends to give you a Virtue trait.
  • Scout deeds – finding locations, objects, buildings or people.  Rewards vary, and sometimes include traits.
  • Quest deeds – completing a series of specific quests, or completing a total number of quests in an area.  These often lead to traits or reputation rewards (or more esoteric rewards, such as being able to swift travel to that location by horse).
  • Collection deeds – finding and collecting particular items.
  • Skill deeds – using the same skill many times.  These always reward you with a Class trait, they are usually level restricted so using a skill at level 38 might not trigger the deed, while the same skill at 40 might.
  • Enmity Kill deeds – rather than killing creatures in a particular area, these deeds require a character to kill a specific type of creature anywhere and lead to Race traits.  The deeds come in several ranks, and are all level restricted.

The Deed Window

Deeds are managed through the deed window, which can be opened using shift + L.  The deed window is a complex beast and it’s easy to miss stuff.  Here’s how it looks.

Deed Window - annotated

The numbered areas are,

  1. At the top of the window (new look with the release of Mirkwood) you can choose tabs for different areas of the game or different types of deeds.
  2. At the very bottom, and the bit most often missed, are tabs which select a sub-area or type based on the selection chosen at #1.  For example, the deed window above has Eriador as the area, and each of the tabs in #2 are for the different locations, such as The Shire, or North Downs.
  3. Here you can filter what is shown in the window, the key option is the ‘Completed’ checkbox.  When ticked it shows only completed deeds, when unticked it shows only uncompleted deeds.
  4. This side of the window shows all the deeds which match the type (#1), area (#2) and filter (#3).
  5. This shows the progress for the chosen deed.  It may be a bar such as in this example, or a list of tasks (in a later example).
  6. And finally, the rewards for completing the deed are listed in this area, you may find a small vertical scroll-bar if there are more than one reward.  Rewards may be traits (as in this case, a virtue), or reputation, an item, or sometimes combinations of rewards.

It’s easy to open the deed window and forget the tabs around #2, or open the window and forget you’re looking at completed deeds not ones you still need to finish.

Deed progress is measured in different ways, depending on the deed in question.  Here we can see a deed which results in a Class trait (and so is progressed by using a skill over and over again).

Deed Window - skill progress

Hovering the mouse over the blue bar shows the progress.  When the bar turns yellow, it means you may no longer progress this deed any further on this day.  Class skill based deeds usually require the enemy they are used against to provide XP (i.e. no slaughtering hundreds of grey enemies) and so have a high daily limit.  However, some class skills aren’t combat related (such as buffs, or summoning pets) and so have a much smaller daily use limit (maybe as low as 5 per day).

Here we see a deed which requires killing a certain type of creature to progress.

Deed Window - kill progress

And here we see a deed which has a number of discrete steps which must be completed.

Deed Window - quest progress

How they link to Traits

Deeds and traits go hand-in-hand because the vast majority of traits are earned by completing deeds (not all deeds give traits, but nearly all traits are given by deeds).  In the examples above we can see in the rewards the following traits,

  • The virtue Empathy in the first image, where the character already has 6 ranks so earning it will provide the 7th.
  • The class trait Athletic in the second image, which will modify how a particular skill for that character works.
  • The race trait Dwarf-Endurance in the third image.
  • Another class trait Deathstorm in the final image.

Summary

If quests are the Fairy Cake of Lord of the Rings online then deeds are the Pink Icing.  Deeds provide many rewards including titles and swift travel options, but most importantly they provide traits.  It is common to complete all the quests in an area before completing all the deeds and you need to decide whether to move on and complete the deeds later, or stay longer and complete the deeds there and then.  There is no right answer.  Skill based deeds take a long time to progress and if you don’t actively work on them, you’re likely to never complete some of them.

In the third article, I’ll focus on Virtues.

Lord of the Rings Online – Virtues, Traits and Deeds! (part one)

I tend to write blog posts for a few reasons, maybe I just have something in my head I want to get out, or I feel like ‘talking’ or because I want to write something I hope might be useful.  This post falls into that last category.  Here then, is a long blog post probably broken up into multiple parts, on the Traits system within the Lord of the Rings online game.  It won’t be the most comprehensive guide to Traits, but I hope it’ll be a useful introduction to the different elements and how they fit together.

Introduction

Most roleplaying games have a number of elements which combine together to give your character their shape.  Often, there is an overall level which provides a rough power indicator for your character, then some skills which define what you can do and usually some attributes (like strength or agility).  Beyond that, games differ greatly on how they let you fine tune your particular character, and in online games, that fine tuning is often something that involves the most effort for the least overall reward.  Despite the small returns, those little tweaks are what make your Warrior different from some other Warrior.  Yours might have a quicker thrust, or a faster retreat option, while theirs might have a stronger arm or more solid shield.

In Lord of the Rings Online that customisation is provided by the Traits system.  Traits affect your character attributes and skills in a multitude of different ways.  Traits might provide more morale, faster power regeneration, they might extend the time a skill works for, give you more resistance to fire based attacks, or even provide entirely new skills alltogether.  Two Hunter characters might fair very differently in the same fight based on their trait choices.  There are four types of traits, lots of different traits in each type, completely different traits for each class and race, and a large number of ways they can be earned.  You could spend weeks reviewing all the options and how they affect a specific character.  For the most part, average players don’t spend that much time on them, but as you reach higher levels there usually comes a moment where you wonder why someone else survived a fight you didn’t and often the answer is trait choice.

Here then is my description of Traits, how they’re earned, why they’re called Virtues and why Deeds are so important.  Part one will be a general overview of the system.

Types

There are four types of trait.  The different types tend for the most part to be earned in different ways, although there is some overlap.  In the section below I’ll provide a basic overview of each type and how they are most commonly earned.  Subsequent posts will go into more detail on each of the different types.

Virtues (can be equipped from level 7)

Virtues are the most basic trait, and your character starts earning these almost as soon as they start adventuring.  Each virtue provides three benefits to your character in the form of improvements to their attributes.  The range of attributes is diverse and includes basic stats such as Agility, defences such as Fire, improvements to in-combat power regeneration, and a large list of other possible benefits.  Nearly all virtues are earned as the rewards for common deeds.  They tend to be location based deeds such as killing orcs in The Lonelands or scouting ancient ruins in the North Downs.

Virtues are unique among the other types of traits in that additional instances of the same virtue stack together.  For example, you may earn your first Charity virtue by completing a deed in The Shire.  You could then equip it, and it would be at rank 1.  If you later earned another Charity virtue, perhaps in the Lonelands, it would automatically increase your equipped Charity trait to rank 2, and the benefits provided by the virtue would increase.  It does not matter where you earn your first rank of a virtue, nor what level you are when you do it.  The maximum rank any virtue may rise to is currently 10.  Earning multiple ranks in virtues is one of the ways to greatly increase your character’s power.

Virtues are identical for all classes and races in both name and benefit provided.

Racial (can be equipped from level 13)

Racial traits are, as the name suggests, unique to each race in both the effect they provide and the activity required to earn them.  They are mostly earned by killing enemies considered to be racial enemies.  For example, Dwarves have great enmity towards the Dourhands, Elves towards drakes, Hobbits towards wolves and Men towards the dead.  They tend to provide new skills or unique bonuses as rewards.  They are level restricted such that you may not see the deed required to earn the trait until you reach a certain level, at which point killing one of the enemies in question will give you the new deed.

Class (can be equipped from level 15)

Class traits are most often earned by repeatedly using class based skills.  The traits and their benefits are different for every class.  These traits provide the most significant customisation of the classes.  In the Mines of Moria expansion class traits were modified so that for each class they now fall into three groups.  Each group or set gives a particular class focus, and they achieve this because collecting traits within the same set/group provides additional benefits.  For example, you might choose to play a Guardian and focus on two-handed weapon / overpower traits, or you may prefer to generate more hate.  Choosing traits that match those rolls will provide additional benefits that complement that style.  That will be covered in more detail in a later post.  It is worth noting that this system is optional, you are free to equip any combination of class traits you like.

Legendary (can be equipped from level 41)

The last class of trait and the least numerous are Legendary traits.  As the name suggests (at least in theory) these traits provide your character with legendary abilities that define their place in the War of Middle Earth.  In practice some people find the benefits vary in quality on a per trait basis.  Each class gets a totally unique set of Legendary traits.  They are earned in different ways, either through collection deeds, earning reputation and purchasing books, or completing quest lines.  The only common factor is that at each stage, each class has to complete the same type of activity to earn similar legendary traits.  For example, in the mid 40’s the first three legendary traits are all earned by collecting a book and then 8 missing pages.  Each class requires different books and pages, and gets different traits, but they are all earned in the same way.

Viewing Traits

Traits can be examined using the trait window (by default, this is opened by pressing J).  The trait window has 5 tabs along the top, the first shows all equipped traits, the second lists virtues, the third lists race traits, then class traits and the final tab lists legendary traits.  The window changed in the Mines of Moria expansion, and the final four tabs now show all the possible traits your character may earn, and which ones you have completed.  Here’s how the window looks as a starting character (for all images in this series of blog posts, you may click for a larger picture).

Trait Window - new character

And for comparison, here’s the same window from a level 53 Champion,

Trait Window - level 53 champion

Later articles will go into more detail on each of the tabs and what the dialog is actually showing you.

Equipping / Changing Traits

Equipping traits you have earned or changing your existing trait line-up requires a visit to a Bard.  They’re placed throughout Middle Earth and nearly every town or city has one.  Visiting the bard will turn off any active skills you have on, and will present you with a dialog that looks like this.

Bard Trait Dialog

Using that dialog you can remove or add traits to your line-up and see what the total cost will be, as well as see which traits you already have equipped.  Traits can be changed at will and the only downside to doing so is the cash cost, which can get quite high.  Some players have combinations of traits they equip for different roles (maybe soloing, or grouped, or raiding, or fighting creatures with high Shadow damage, etc.)  Doing so might be useful but it’s also costly, and the people I play the game with don’t tend to bother.  They find a combination of traits which gives them an overall decent character and then tend to stick with it.  It might get changed if a specific encounter is giving a specific issue, but in general, it stays reasonably constant.

Summary

Traits provide a mechanism for customising your character in Lord of the Rings online.  They offer a huge range of variations for each character, and are the most complex part of defining your avatar.  They are split into four types, virtues, class, race and legendary.  They are earned in a myriad of different ways (although nearly all of them rely on deeds to track progress).  In the next article I’ll provide a refresher on deeds, what they are, how they are started and how they are tracked.  Traits rely heavily on the deed system in Lord of the Rings online so you need to have a good grounding in how that works, before you can progress.