I’ve been wanting to write about traits for a while now as I know for me it was hard to figure out what worked and what didn’t and I always seem to see lots of posts on the LOTRO boards about them. I’m going to cover Class, Virtues, and legendary traits, but not racial ones. Pretty much for most races (if not all) there are obvious choices to make on the racial side – so I’ll leave that up to you to figure out. I’m not going to dive too heavily into the math and details on these as honestly the “In-depth trait discussion” post on the LOTRO boards does a phenomenal job explaining in way more detail then I would hope to. I’ll mainly focus this on my warden, but I think the virtue part will be applicable across the board for melee classes or those engaged in melee (I’m thinking Minstrals in the moors).
So the post I linked above (it is also in my sidebar links section) does a pretty good job of walking through what are the optimal traits for tanks to maximize survivability. Sadly, these also include some of the more painful traits to grind out in the game so while I have a pretty good grasp on what I should be slotting – I haven’t ground everything out to a point where it makes sense to slot them. For some this isn’t a big deal, but for me I struggle with it. And to this point, one thing that changed dramatically with Moria were the effect of virtues in that some builds pre-Moria were rendered more or less useless forcing folks to either deal with it or grind out something else. Now if you’re one of those “grind every virtue in every zone” kind of players this doesn’t matter to you, but for me it certainly caused issues on my Captain and I certainly planned out my warden knowing what traits I wanted to not only slot but the ones I felt confident in obtaining. There are pretty much 3 types of ways of obtaining virtues:
- Quest Completion
The only zone I struggle with on the quest completion side is the Shire, and that’s only because I don’t normally do the shire while leveling so it’s not like I just need to pick up an extra quest or 2, I need to do 75. But usually, quest completion deeds you’ll pick up if you do all the zones.
Same thing goes for Exploration – for the most part you’ll pick up the majority of the locations by questing and then will just need to pick up a couple extra. I usually cheat and wait till the zone is grey to me and ride around picking up whatever points I’m missing. In my links section there are a couple good links to dynamic maps for all the zones if you’re struggling with finding some particular location.
Slayer deeds are sadly a little more tedious – not bad at the lower levels but as you get closer to 60 you start approaching 450 kills to finish both tiers of the trait. A few things to consider while doing slayer deeds:
- bring friends – always more fun this way
- push yourself to keep it interesting and not quite as boring
- good time to work on gambit rotations/memorization
- if you’re going to work on class traits, make sure you’re not farming grey con mobs 😉
- break it up into chunks such that it isn’t so overwhelming
So what I ended up doing was listing out all the virtues in a spreadsheet and then used the LOTRO Wiki to find out what I needed to do to get the traits I was interested in. This also allowed me to plan things out and know what I’ve done and what I haven’t.
For me, I prioritized based on melee mitigation, armor value, morale and resists. So, that means ideally I’d look for the following traits:
- Innocence (Quests)
- Zeal (Slayer)
- Discipline (Slayer)
- Empathy (Quests)
- Honesty (Slayer/Exploration)
- Loyalty (Quests)
- Valour (Slayer)
- Confidence (Exploration/Slayer)
- Fidelity (Exploration)
- Charity (Quests)
- Idealism (Quests/Exploration)
- Honor (Slayer)
I’ve bolded pretty much the 3 main traits most would agree are the best (somewhat painful grinds, Zeal especially). Then you can pick and chose from there – for me I went Valour and Loyalty but certainly using a slot for resists in an instance that’s heavy on a damage type would make sense. Discipline I like, I just haven’t ground it out yet – and am not sure I will 🙂
I tried to do as much of these as I could while leveling, but I also do spend a good bit of time at the higher levels going back to grind out traits.
Check out the wiki for description on what you need for each of these, I’m not going to repeat that info. I’m going to assume that you’re keeping up with these as you level, which you should be able to during normal play. For wardens the 3 trait lines are Fist, Shield, and Spear. I bolded my current trait choices.
- A Keen Response – Increases the physical damage done by all Gambits initiated with a Fist symbol.
- +15% Fist Physical damage, so the component that’s NOT the DoT
- Confidence – All of your damage over time effects will last one additional pulse.
- Deadly Insult – Your Warden’s Taunt will be resisted much less often.
- Force of Personality – All of your Gambits initiated with a Fist symbol will be harder to resist.
- Know Your Enemy – Your Goad can now affect 3 additional targets.
- Master of the Fist – Your battlefield presence has grown much more powerful and you can perform Fist Gambits much faster.
- Allows you to add fist+spear and/or fist+shield into your gambit with one button
- Strong Voice – Your War Cry has a chance to Fear your enemies for a short time.
- Terrible Visage – All of your damage over time effects inflict increased damage.
- +5% DoT damage
Line Bonuses (number of traits slotted):
- 2 – +10% threat
- 3 – +1 DoT pulse
- 4 – +5% fist DoT damage
Personally I feel these are the 3 best fist traits, and what I currently have slotted as I also like the extra DoT pulse which allows me to keep the DoTs up more. I would only slot more if you’re going to slot the Fist Capstone and I’d only do that when I’m grinding mobs or want the added fear chance. So for that I’d probably add “Terrible Visage” and something else, not sure what though 🙂
- Efficient Shieldwork- All of your Gambits initiated with a Shield symbol will cost less power.
- -5% Shield gambit cost
- Master of the Shield – You have mastered the Warden’s style of defensive combat and can perform Shield Gambits much faster.
- Allows you to add shield+spear and/or shield+fist into your gambit with one button
- Never Say Die – All Warden Heal over Time effects will last one additional pulse.
- Perseverance – All Warden Heal over Time effects will last one additional pulse.
- Shield Trickery – The defensive bonuses from Shield Bash will appear more often.
- +10% chance shield-bash buff (+1200 block) applied
- Skillful Blocking – Your Block value is increased.
- Ward of Justice – All defensive bonuses from Warden Gambits are increased.
- buffs block, parry, and evade bonuses in gambits
- Wary Blocks – The defensive bonuses from Defensive Strike will last longer.
- Only applies to the shield+shield gambit, allows it to last an extra 10 seconds
Line Bonuses (number of traits slotted):
- 2 – +240 Block
- 3 – +240 Evade
- 4 – +10% HoT Healing
Personally I slot only the 2 +HoT pulse traits. For, the shield line I really think you either stop there or slot 5 for the Shield Capstone. That legendary is nice for certain cases, but the majority of the time I don’t use it. When I go full shield I’ll use the Mastery, Efficient Shieldwork and one of the others 😉
- Deadly Thrust – All of your Gambits initiated with a Spear symbol have an increased critical hit chance.
- Efficient Thrust – Your Quick Thrust skill costs much less power to activate.
- -40% power cost on Quick Thrust builder
- Expert Hurler – All Javelin skills other than Javelin Toss have reduced cooldowns.
- 15 second cooldown reduction (pretty nice for moors)
- Find Weakness – Your Critical Strike skill has an even higher chance of scoring a critical hit.
- just a crit chance buff on the Critical Strike skill
- Master of the Spear – You have mastered the Warden’s style of physical combat and can perform Spear Gambits much faster.
- allows you to add spear+fist and/or spear+shield into your gambit with one button
- Mighty Throw – All skills using a Javelin do increased damage.
- +10% javelin damage
- Skill and Power – Your Gambit Default skill will do significantly more damage.
- JUST applies to if you fire a gambit that doesn’t exist
- Veteran – All of your gambits initiated with a spear symbol will do extra damage.
- +5% spear gambit damage
Line Bonuses (number of traits slotted):
- 2 – -5% spear gambit power cost
- 3 – +15% spear gambit crit multiplier
- 4 – +5% spear gambit damage
I’m really not a bit fan of spec’ing down this line as I don’t try to DPS – maybe if I wanted to or was in the Moors I’d spec down this line but it would be hard. I use 2 in this line for the power reduction but could certainly see not using this line at all. And the “Skill and Power” trait only increases the damage of the gambit skill when no gambit is active – it doesn’t apply to the entire line, so it isn’t as good as it might sound.
- Defiant Challenge – You may use Defiant Challenge to force all nearby enemies to attack you.
- From the book Bullroarer’s Boy (find the book first, then all the pages)
- 5 second AoE forced taunt with a 30 second damage reflection
- Grand Master Weapons Training – The ultimate level of training with the Warden’s preferred weapons, Spear, Sword and Club.
- From the book Chieftians of the Dunedain (find the book first, then all the pages)
- +5% damage from those weapons and the specific procs are stronger and are more frequent.
- i.e. spear bleed pops more often and hits for much more
- Javelin of Deadly Force – You may throw your javelin with such deadly force it can pierce multiple bodies on the way to its final target.
- From the book the Watch Against the Night (find the book first, then all the pages)
- Frontal AoE spear attack, fires in the direction you’re looking – not the direction of a mob you have targeted
- Way of the Fist – You have mastered the Warden’s art of drawing monster attacks upon yourself.
- Quest line that ends up in the Dark Delvings instance
- +10% threat, +25% desolation to apply fear, +3 targets for desolation
- Way of the Shield – You have mastered the Warden’s art of defensive combat.
- Finish Volume 2 book 8 chapter 6
- +2 HoT pulses, +10% HoT healing, +30% heal bonus for Conviction
- Way of the Spear – You have mastered the Warden’s art of physical combat.
- Book purchased when Kindred rank with the Iron Garrison Guard reputation
- +5% melee damage, +30% warden’s triumph damage, +10 second duration for the warden’s triumph buff
- Way of the Warden – Combine all of the Warden’s fighting styles into a single master style using the best parts of each.
- Reward for completing both of the Level 45 class quests
- Single stance with (at level 60) -10% attack duration, +5% melee damage, +871.2 ICMR, +412.8 ICPR
- Only lasts while in combat with a 15 minute cooldown.
- Legendary item legacy bonuses don’t carry over to WoW.
I think I’ve already covered the capstones, but the bold are the ones I currently have slotted. Defiant challenge does have some value, I just haven’t used it enough to slot it.
I hope that helps, happy hunting!
It’s always intersting to compare trait setups. on my warden i typically runthe following virtues: Innocence, Empathy, Zeal, Loyalty and 1 more, usually Honesty, but Fidelity, Tolerance or Justice depending upon the situation. I’m a big beilever in mitigation, so anything (within reason – i dont slot Discipline) that improves -melee damage or increases armour value i look for.
Most ppl i inspect seem to run Valour, but i prefer to reduce incoming damage more than having a bigger pool of morale to be damaged, but each to their own, i guess.
Class trait wise, i’m running 4 Shield: Master of the Shield, Never Say Die, Perseverance, Ward of Justice; 2 Fist: Master of the Fist and Force of Personality; plus Master of the Spear. i just cant give up the 3 Masteries, even though i’d like to slot other traits – the ability to execute gambits without hitting things is just too important to me.
Legendary trait wise, i equip the same as you are: Way of the Warden, Grand Master Weapons Training and Javelin of Deadly Force. i’m actually looking for a good 2nd age axe (or better yet, a 1st age axe) so that i can unslot GMWT, either for Way of the Shield or Defiant Challenge, depending on circumstances.
The strange thing about wardens is how similar most of the the trait builds are: once you accept that you have to slot Masteries, there’s not many choices remaining, and so the differences between builds tends to be one of degree, not type. I rarely see wardens slotting the Spear line, and have *never* seen a warden slotting the Fist line. i had 3 Shield 2 Fist 2 Spear slotted for a long time, but went to 4 Shield for the extra healing – even though the Shield traits, themselves, aren’t very good (excepting the +1 HoT pulses, of course).
Very similar set-ups and thought process. I basically have the same virtues with Valour as my normal 5th, but will swap if need another resistance. Coming from a captain, sometime my warden gets morale envy 😉
And I do think there are a couple of viable trait paths, but not terribly many for PvE. Either shield heavy (4 or 5) or a mix like mine see to me to be the only paths to reasonably do our job well. You’re right in that once you start slotting the masteries it really cuts down your options. Spear and fist wardens are few and far between – I’ve slotted them once just to mess around, and I’m sure others have done the same but it just isn’t worth it. The exception being a spear line warden in the moors.
I do have a decent 2nd age axe, but maybe with SoM they’ll finally fix the spear bug as I really do prefer spears (and I have a nice 1st age). If I get enough tokens to get another 1st age it will be a javelin I think…
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