Essences and How to Make the Most of Them



Greetings, everyone! πŸ™‚

Amidst all the talk of legendary items and the great advancement made by the Forge-masters regarding how to imbue them, another discovery has been made in our lands recently. Essence stones, of various size and luster, are being found to have significant power, and industrious folk have begun to work armor and jewelry to make use of these stones.

Surely there is great toil and effort required to gather these essences and the armor to hold them, no? What of the armors and implements of old? Are they no longer shiny as well?

We will discuss all of these matters and more. But first, one question…

The real thing or fool’s gold…

What are these things, anyway?! πŸ™‚

A. The Gemologist’s Scale

So, I spoke with an appraiser of such things and asked for his insight. It seems there are 19 distinct types of essences that have been found, most of which have four varying degrees of luster. The four degrees of luster are named:

  • Lesser (Yellow)
  • Minor (Purple)
  • Greater (Teal)
  • Supreme (Gold)

I will list by type what the Gemologist’s scale reported for each of the 19 different essence stones below, from least to greatest (these are for level 100 essences):

  • Agility – +116 / +119 / +136 / +139 and +17 Vitality
  • Blocking – +1053 / +1075 / +1229 / none yet found
  • Critical Defense – +2646 / +2702 / +3088 / +3088 and +154 Critical Rating
  • Critical Rating – +1053 / +1075 / +1229 / +386 Critical Defense
  • Evasion – +1053 / +1075 / +1229 / none yet found
  • Fate – +116 / +119 / +136 / +139 and +17 Vitality
  • Finesse – +3213 / +3280 / +3749 / +3749 and +17 Fate
  • Incoming Healing – +2105.6 / +2150.4 / +2457.6 / +2457.6 and +234 Resistance
  • Might – +116 / +119 / +136 / +139 and +17 Vitality
  • Morale – +746 / +765 / +875 / +891 and +96 Power
  • Parrying – +1053 / +1075 / +1229 / +1229 and +154 Evade
  • Physical Mastery – +1053 / +1075 / +1229 / +1229 and +109 Morale
  • Physical Mitigation – +2370 / +2420 / +2766 / +2766 and +346 Tactical Mitigation
  • Power – +644 / +660 / +755 / +769 and +111 Morale
  • Resistance – +1604 / +1638 / +1872 / +1872 and +153.6 Incoming Healing
  • Tactical Mastery – +1053 / +1075 / +1229 / +1229 and +94 Power
  • Tactical Mitigation – +2370 / +2420 / +2766 / +2766 and +346 Physical Mitigation
  • Vitality – +116 / +119 / +136 / +139 and +17 Fate
  • Will – +116 / +119 / +136 / +139 and +17 Vitality

While essence stones can be found for trainings as low as level 50, it is not really worth the effort to seek them out until you reach 100 trainings, unless you are purposefully halting your level advancement and will have the time to make use of them. We simply gain trainings too quickly these days to make gathering them at lower levels worthwhile, and you will be finding far better very soon.

Now that we have a proper measurement of these stones, we can begin to answer the question…

B. How does Essence armor compare to other types of armor and shinies?

The best way to answer this is to compare a piece of armor of high quality to that which we might create instead by gathering essences to a piece of armor suited for them.

After a quick trip to the market, I found these leggings for sale…

These are about as good a set of leggings as you will find these days as far as traditional armor. Now, let us see if we can find some leggings that will hold essences…

These leggings will hold four essence stones, while the finished armor above has four properties as well, making a direct comparison between the two quite easy! Both leggings give the same amount of armor protection, so that is a wash.

Let us say we placed a similar essence stone of the worst quality (Minor) into each slot of these leggings and compare the two (Finished armor – Essence armor):

  • +239 Will — +116 Will (Essence) + 119 Will (Innate to the armor) = +235 Will
  • +205 Vitality — +116 Vitality
  • +922 Critical Rating — +1,053 Critical Rating
  • +461 Tactical Mastery Rating — +1,053 Tactical Mastery Rating

This leaves us in a bit of a quandary, no? Of the four properties, one seems to heavily favor the traditional armor (Vitality: 205 – 116) and one seems to favor it slightly (Will: 239 – 235). But the same is true for the Essence armor as well: (Tactical Mastery Rating: 1,053 – 461) and (Critical Rating: 1,053 – 922). They seem to be about even, no?

Well, we can delve a bit further into things, maybe. When Vitality used to give mitigations as well as Morale and Resistance, it was much more valuable to have. Now, however, each point of Vitality gives only the following to Will-based classes, according to Lotro-wiki:

  • 3 points of Morale
  • 2 points of Resistance
  • some non-combat morale regeneration, which is not too vital to things

The Vitality from the traditional armor piece is forced upon us by that piece. But what if we placed a Morale essence into our item instead of a Vitality essence? How would things look then? (Traditional armor – Essence armor)

  • +239 Will – +235 Will
  • +615 Morale – +746 Morale
  • +410 Resistance – +0 Resistance
  • +922 Critical Rating – +1,053 Critical Rating
  • +461 Tactical Mastery Rating – +1,053 Tactical Mastery Rating

Now the only real benefit that the traditional armor has over the essence armor is +4 Will and +410 Resistance. But how often is Resistance really needed, anyway? For that small price, we are gaining +131 Morale, +131 Critical Rating, and +592 Tactical Mastery. That seems like more than a fair trade to me!

And this is just with essences of the lowest quality…

Not only are Essences very powerful, but they also allow for an unprecedented level of choice and customization regarding our shinies in these lands. If you want to walk around town with 50,000 Morale, you can! If you wish to sacrifice all things defensive for more offense, you can!

Now that we know that essence armor has the potential to be more powerful than traditional armor, we come to one last question…

C. Is gathering Essence armor worth the effort?

And that is a difficult question to answer, as it depends upon how much worth one ascribes to such things relative to the effort required to gather them and how much use they will get.

Let us go over the ways to acquire essences and the armor that holds them!

D. Essence Armors

As of this writing, there are three different sets of essence armor for those of 100 trainings:

The pieces belonging to the most powerful set can each hold 5 essences. This set can only be bartered for with Morgul Crests (currently only available by completing the Challenge quests in the Osgiliath instances: Ruined City, Sunken Labyrinth, and Dome of Stars).

There is also a set of essence armor for barter from the merchants in the skirmish camps:

Each piece of this set costs 312 Marks and 55 Medallions. However, there is a set of essence armor between these two that is, unquestioningly, the best when weighing the combination of potency and ease to acquire:

While pieces of this Nadhin set of armor can be found as treasure on very rare occasion, the most reliable way to acquire them is with Gold and Silver Tokens of Dol Amroth.

In the Court of the Fount in Dol Amroth, you will find a Quartermaster who barters each type of essence armor (Light, Medium, and Heavy). The chestpiece and leggings cost 20 Gold Coins and 20 Silver Coins, while the other four pieces (helm, shoulders, gloves, and boots) cost 10 of each coin.

As I wrote in my Imbuing guide, the training exercises in Dol Amroth are a wonderful way to earn these coins to barter for Scrolls of Empowerment and Delving for your legendary items. They will also serve well in acquiring coins to barter for your essence armor!

The training exercises are given by Beriaudur, who stands just south of the Court of the Fount. They can be done once per day and will earn you 7 Gold Coins and likely many more Silver Coins, thus requiring 12 days total to earn your full set of armor with some change to spare. Estimating around 10 minutes per day to complete the exercises, the full set of armor can be earned with about 2 hours of effort. These coins are fully shareable as well and can also be bought at the auction hall or pooled amongst your smialmates!

Now that we have our armor, how do we acquire the essences?

E. Essences by quality and how they can be acquired

Minor Essences

  • can be found as treasure from foes
  • can be bought at the auction hall

Major Essences

  • can be found as treasure from foes
  • can be bought at the auction hall
  • can be found in essence boxes bartered for with Dol Amroth district faction tokens
  • can be acquired through the epic questline
  • can be found as treasure in fellowship versions of the epic book instances in Gondor (which are repeatable by looking into a Reflecting Pool in that region)
  • can be bartered from the Curiosity vendor in any skirmish camp for 500 Marks (Level 95 essences only)

One can earn district faction coins of Dol Amroth by completing the quests given by a city district representative. The district representatives stand in the area just north of the Library of Saphadzir. There is a daily limit of 6 quests of this type that one can complete, but each individual quest can only be completed bi-weekly, renewing once more early Monday and Thursday mornings (server time).

Each quest rewards a gift-box that will hold one of the following:

  • 3 or 6 of that faction’s coins
  • 1 or 2 of a different faction’s coins (save for Mason and Swan-knight boxes which never hold another faction’s coins)
  • 4 or 8 Silver Coins

Because Mason and Swan-knight faction gift-boxes never hold another faction’s coins, they have a greater chance of holding their own coins, or Silver Coins, making them an ideal choice if you are seeking either type of coin.

Faction coins can also be earned by completing the daily training exercises given by Beriaudur, as mentioned above. Completing all 7 exercises will earn you 7 gift-boxes from the faction you chose to aid during the exercise.

With the 7 Gold Coins earned from completing these exercises, along with the 7 district gift-boxes, the training exercises make for an incredibly efficient way to make progress on your journey toward fully-realized legendary items and essence armor! πŸ™‚

Ten coins of any city faction will allow you to barter for an essence box from the Essence quartermaster which is guaranteed to hold either a Major essence or a Greater essence. The faction coins determine which type of essences have a chance to be earned as seen below:

  • Armoury – Fate, Morale, Power, Vitality
  • Bank – Critical Rating, Finesse, Physical Mastery, Tactical Mastery
  • Docks – Critical Defense, Evade, Parry, Tactical Mitigation
  • Great Hall – Block, Incoming Healing, Physical Mastery, Physical Mitigation
  • Library – Block, Evade, Parry, Resistance
  • Mason – Agility, Fate, Might, Will
  • Swan-knight – Critical Rating, Power, Tactical Mastery, Will
  • Warehouse – Critical Defense, Incoming Healing, Physical Mitigation, Tactical Mitigation

By aiding the appropriate faction, one can better their chance at acquiring useful essences. πŸ™‚

Greater Essences

  • can be found as treasure in Epic Battles
  • can be bought at the auction hall
  • can be found in essence boxes bartered for with Dol Amroth district faction tokens
  • can be acquired through the epic questline
  • can be found as treasure in fellowship versions of the epic book instances in Gondor (which are repeatable by looking into a Reflecting Pool in that region)
  • can be crafted as a non-critical success from a Major essence of the same type with a one-time use recipe
  • can be bartered from the Item Trader in Glan Vraig in the Ettenmoors for 1,500 Commendations (Level 95 essences only)

Quartermasters in Western and Eastern Gondor (but not Central Gondor) have recipes for barter that provide an opportunity to improve upon the quality of Major essences. Each craft has recipes for improving two types of essences:

  • Cook – Finesse and Vitality
  • Jeweler – Fate and Tactical Mitigation
  • Metalsmith – Critical Defense and Might
  • Scholar – Tactical Mastery and Will
  • Tailor – Agility and Physical Mitigation
  • Weaponsmith – Physical Mastery and Vitality
  • Woodworker – Critical Rating and Fate

As of this writing, there are no recipes that improve upon the following essences:

  • Blocking
  • Evasion
  • Incoming Healing
  • Morale
  • Parrying
  • Power

The recipes for essences of the primary stats (Agility, Fate, Might, Vitality and Will) barter for 75 Silver Pieces of a region’s currency and requires Kindred standing with that region to do so.

Every other essence recipe barters for 50 Silver Pieces of that region’s currency and requires Ally standing with that region.

Essence recipes require:

  • A Major essence
  • A Universal Solvent (found as treasure or bought from the auction hall or the LOTRO Store)
  • An Emerald Shard
  • Crating materials related to the type of crafting required
  • Though not required, there are optional materials that will greatly improve the chance for a critical success. Most often, this will be a Westemnet Crafting Journal of the appropriate craft

With a crafting lore scroll and the optional materials, the chance for a critical success can be raised as high as 79%. A critical success produces a Supreme essence, whereas a normal success produces a Greater essence.

Supreme Essences

  • can be found as treasure in Epic Battles
  • can be crafted as a critical success from a Major essence of the same type with a one-time use recipe

Class Essences

In addition to the standard essences, the Quartermasters of the three regions in Central Gondor each have three class essences available for barter. These essences can only be bartered for by the appropriate class and are also unique, thus allowing only a single essence of that type to be used at any given time.

The potency of these essences tends to range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and each one usually is suited for one of the three trait lines of their restricted class. They are definitely worth a look! πŸ™‚

Essence Reclamation Scrolls

  • can be bought in the Store
  • can be bought in the auction hall
  • can be bartered from festival quartermasters with festival coins
  • can be bartered from standard honor epic battle quartermasters for 150 Stars of Merit

So, now that we know how to acquire essence stones, how does one go about deciding which essences are best worth searching for?

Well, it mainly comes down to the situations you will likely find yourself in, and how you prefer going about battling your way out of them! But before we go into detail on those things, we should probably first discuss…


F. Rating Caps and how they are applied

Not that kind of cap, silly! Rating caps are hard caps that apply to certain characteristics which cannot ever be stepped over.

Or can they…

For example, most everyone knows that, for those of us with 100 trainings, our critical chance is capped at 25%. By raising one’s Critical Rating to +16,843, their chance to strike critically reaches 25% and is, therefore, capped. Raising their rating by another 1,000 or 50,000 will not raise that percentage one bit more.

However, looking at the characteristics for my Scouting, I find this:

32.5%, Yay!

While it may appear that the extra critical rating I have over the cap amount is providing me that additional +7.5% chance to strike critically, it is really due to two class traits that are active:

This is because of the distinction between a bonus that raises a rating by a number versus a bonus that directly boosts a characteristic by a percentage. In essence…

  • Anything that applies a number to a rating counts against that rating cap, whereas anything that applies a percentage is unaffected by caps

This is important to know when gathering essences, because all bonuses from essences apply toward cap ratings. It is definitely possible to come up against these caps, particularly given the freedom we have to apply essences to our shinies. It is also true that nearly all bonuses from ratings suffer from diminishing returns as they come closer to being capped.

Let us go over some of the more important characteristics and their caps!

G. Caps, Characteristics, and Considerations

  • Avoidances (Block / Evade / Parry) – +36,045 = 25% Avoidance

Only melee and ranged attacks can be avoided (blocked, evaded, or parried).

The Avoidance ratings suffer from extreme diminishing returns after 20% (+15,161), and even after 15% (+7,000). For the most part, using essences like Might or Agility is a far better option than essences that give avoidance only, as they also give other benefits, and the gains after the diminishing return threshold are very low.

Only tank-types need bother with avoidances in most environments. Because tactical attacks are unable to be avoided, there are better ways to bolster one’s defenses in less forgiving environments, like the Tier 2 Osgiliath instances.

  • Critical Rating – +16,843 = 25% Critical Chance

When planning which essences to gather, you might wish to take into account extra bonuses that will boost your critical rating, in order to avoid having some of that bonus become irrelevant due to the critical rating cap. Some examples of these are Captain skills that increase their fellowship’s critical rating, In Defense of Middle Earth, and Minstrel’s tales that boost Fate.

While the chance for striking critically from critical rating is hard-capped at 25%, critical magnitude continues to rise, albeit quite slowly.

  • Critical Defense Rating – +10,000 = 50% Critical Defense

Critical Defense reduces the magnitude of any critical hit a character sustains. A critical hit causes a +50% damage multiplier to modify the damage done by that strike, while a devastating critical causes a +100% damage multiplier. While there is no actual hard cap for Critical Defense, bringing it to 50% causes any critical hit taken to do no more damage than an ordinary attack, while also causing any devastating critical hit taken to act only as a normal critical hit.

Since the chance for a devastating critical hit is capped at 10%, while the chance for a normal critical hit can be much greater (25% and possibly higher), raising Critical Defense beyond 50% will have much less effect and should only be considered for tanking types, typically. Other classes will likely not need any Critical Defense, save for in Tier 2 instances (particularly in Osgiliath).

  • Finesse Rating – +36,834 = 50% Finesse

Finesse lowers a foe’s avoidances and Resistance by the percentage granted by the Finesse rating. While the diminishing returns for Finesse are not severe, there is little point to raising it over 25% (the cap for avoidances).

For most foes, including those in more difficult instances, a Finesse of around 15%-20%, or even less, will certainly do! Melee attackers can reduce the need for Finesse significantly by positioning themselves behind the foe they are attacking.

Tank-types may wish to raise Finesse a bit higher, to ensure they can keep all foes concentrated upon them at all times.

  • Incoming Healing – +15,815 = 25% Incoming Healing

Only tank-types need worry about Incoming Healing in most environments. In more difficult situations, every little bit helps! Diminishing returns begin to set in at 15% (+7,000).

  • Physical and Tactical Mastery
    • Physical Mastery (Damage) – +80,000 = 200% Physical Mastery damage
    • Tactical Mastery (Damage) – +80,000 = 200% Tactical Mastery damage
    • Tactical Mastery (Healing) – +66,584 = 70% Outgoing healing

Be sure to account for other sources that boost Physical and Tactical Mastery when deciding on which essences to gather and how many!

Battle Lore, Captain skills, and Minstrel anthems are among the many possible ways to boost Mastery ratings.

  • Physical and Tactical Mitigation
    • Light Armor – +12,500 = 40% Mitigation (19,250)
    • Medium Armor – +18,750 = 50% Mitigation (25,500)
    • Heavy Armor – +16,658 = 60% Mitigation (23,408)

Be sure to take into account likely sources of mitigation rating when planning on which essences to gather and how many!

Warding scrolls, In Defense of Middle Earth from Captains, and some Minstrel’s tales are sources of mitigation rating.

Special note: Some resourceful folk have recently discovered that all foes in Tier 2 instances bypass the first 6,750 of our mitigation ratings, allowing them to deal more damage than they otherwise would normally. This effect can be countered by raising mitigation by 6,750 over the normal cap. The numbers in parentheses above are the ratings needed to reach the true mitigation cap in Tier 2 instances.

  • Resistance – +36,834 = 50% Resistance

Resistance allows one to resist the harmful conditions (Disease, Fear, Poison, Wound) that foes try to inflict upon us. Will-based classes tend to have a much higher Resistance rating than Might and Agility classes due to each point of Will being worth 2 points of Resistance. Save for in the most extreme circumstances (certain Tier 2 Osgiliath instance fights), there are better ways to improve one’s overall defense.

If really needed, swapping in certain virtues is a wonderful way to temporarily boost one’s Resistance. Three different virtues (Charity, Confidence, and Honour) raise Resistance by a minimum of +3,278, which is worth nearly two Greater Essences of Resistance (+1,872).

Resistance begins to suffer from slight diminishing returns at around 28% (+17,000).

H. Pulling it all together…

So, now that we know about the essences, the conditions they affect, and the conditions that affect them, how do we go about making the most of them?

Well, again, that will depend mostly on your play style and what it is that you enjoy doing in these lands. Landscape questing, epic battles, and Tier 1 instances and skirmishes are vastly different experiences than Tier 2 endeavors. The new Osgiliath instances are a cut above most any battle from the past, save for true raids.

Here are some tips and guidelines to consider when deciding on how best to use your essence armor:

  • The primary stats (Agility, Fate, Might, Vitality, and Will) all give multiple benefits. It is worth considering what they provide in full detail when deciding on their worth. As an example, consider a Supreme Essence of Agility as compared to a Supreme Essence of Physical Mastery:
    • Supreme Agility
      • +139 Critical Rating
      • +1,112 Physical Mastery
      • +417 Evade
      • +278 Parry
      • +695 Tactical Mastery (Wardens only)
      • +51 Morale (+85 for Wardens)
      • +34 Resistance
    • Supreme Physical Mastery
      • +1,229 Physical Mastery
      • +109 Morale

Clearly the Agility essence is superior for Wardens and likely for all Agility-based classes. The extra critical rating more than makes up for the difference in physical mastery and the Agility essence also provides avoidances and some resistance as well.

  • If you plan to engage in both difficult endeavors and easier endeavors, having an armor piece for each can work well. Grouping identical or similar essences on an item can aid in this:

Oftentimes you may not need a particular defense characteristic, though it may be absolutely critical at other times. By grouping essences of that type on a single item, one can easily switch between a defensive piece of armor, and one that boosts one’s offense, with the greatest of ease! πŸ™‚

  • As a general rule, both Fate and Vitality (save for classes that gain +5 morale per point) are poor options for both traditional and essence items. Traditional armor sometimes has Fate and it always has Vitality. Minimizing the amount of Fate and Vitality your items give is always something to consider, especially when you can determine how to replace them with more useful powers.
  • While it may not be as exciting, it is often better to take care of defensive measures first (mitigations, morale, critical defense) and settle for as much offensive power as you can muster afterward, particularly in more difficult endeavors. Having a Physical Mastery bonus of +200% does not equate to dealing triple damage. What it actually does is triple the base damage of your damaging skills.
  • Be sure to keep in mind any attribute caps for which you are gathering essences! Any extra bonuses you can count on having (Lore scrolls, class skills, bonuses from pets) should be factored in when determining how many essences of each type you will need. Remember, weapon scrolls can give either Critical Rating or Critical Defense, and scrolls for your class item can give either type of mitigation!

I. Measuring Virtues and Relics, Essentially speaking…

Have you ever wondered which virtues and legendary item relics provide the greatest gain? Because essences provide nearly all the same benefits that our virtues and relics do, it is possible to use them as a measuring tool when considering these things. For example:

  • Determination:
    • +171 Agility
    • +160 In-Combat Morale Regeneration
    • +130 Morale

This is what is gained by those who have fully realized the virtue of Determination. While we can compare two of the three benefits directly with essences, it can be helpful to express all the benefits that stats like Agility grant distinctly (this is for Agility-based classes, as detailed by Lotro-wiki):

    • Determination
      • +1,368 Physical Mastery
      • +171 Critical Rating
      • +513 Evade
      • +342 Parry
      • +130 Morale
      • +160 In-Combat Morale Regeneration

That is quite a list! Five of those six characteristics have an essence that can be directly compared to them, while ICMR is nearly worthless, so we will not bother with it. In fact, given that we will already be at the point of diminishing returns for Parry and Evade just from Agility alone, we will set those aside as well and just measure the other three attributes. Comparing those three to Greater essences of similar type:

    • Physical Mastery: +1,368 / +1229 (Essence) = 1.11
    • Critical Rating: +171 / +1229 (Essence) = .14
    • Morale: +130 / +875 (Essence) = .15

Adding those up, we find that the fully-realized Determination virtue is worth approximately 1.4 Greater Essences. It is actually a bit more since we did not include Evade, Parry, and ICMR into the evaluation.

I will not go through all the numbers, as they give me a headache, too. But here is a list of the virtues that score the highest by this system of evaluation, listed by class type (items in parentheses are potentially worthwhile attributes not factored into the essence value):

    • For Agility-based classes
      • Determination – 1.4
      • Tolerance – 1.39
      • Zeal – 1.05
      • Fidelity – .82 (+152 Resistance)
      • Mercy – .75
      • Innocence – .74 (+1,638 Resistance)
      • Compassion – .74
    • For Might-based classes
      • Discipline – 1.3 (+1,638 Resistance)
      • Zeal – 1.05
      • Valour – .96
      • Fidelity – .82 (+152 Resistance)
      • Innocence – .74 (+1,638 Resistance)
      • Fortitude – .74 (+984 Resistance)
      • Compassion – .74
    • For Will-based classes
      • Wisdom – 1.18 (+1,326 Resistance)
      • Zeal – 1.05
      • Fidelity – .82 (+152 Resistance)
      • Confidence – .78 (+3,506 Resistance)
      • Innocence – .74 (+1,638 Resistance)
      • Compassion – .74

As mentioned in the previous section, swapping in virtues that give Resistance, at the few times when Resistance is vital, can save you a lot of essence hunting and help keep spaces available for essences of greater overall use.

The potency of legendary relics can also be measured in this way, although there are some unique powers that relics grant which should strongly be considered (-% Attack Duration, +% Devastate Magnitude).

By the essence measure, the True Setting of the North (+330 Morale, +1,293 Critical Rating, +1,616 Incoming Healing Rating) is worth 2.09 Greater Essences, far and away more than any virtue or any other relic. Something to consider… πŸ™‚

J. Endless possibilities

In the end, the Essence system is an inclusive system that offers rewards commensurate to the effort put toward it by each one of us. Within its near-boundless degree of choice lies the potential to achieve some amazing things!

We can reach for so many things beneath the light of the stars…

So much is now within our reach. What is it that you will choose?

Questions, concerns, or comments? As always, please leave them below! πŸ™‚


  1. Wow! If I did not know any better, I would call you a Min/Maxer! Thanks for all the great (and creatively stylized) analysis!

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so comprehensive, well done and thank you

  3. Barnabras /

    Don’t forget about the Pvmp socketed armour sets. You can also barter for essence using commendations.

    • Kaleigh Starshine /

      Thank you, Barnabras!

      I did note the essences barterable with commendations under the Greater Essence section. I believe those are the only ones available? (Level 95 Greater Essences)

      As far as PvMP armor, my opinion would be a flawed one, at best, so I left that set out. I think, outside of PvMP, that set does not compare well to the Nadhin set for barter in Dol Amroth, though. It would seem to have more Critical Defense than anyone would ever need, no?

      • Lifthil /

        I somewhat disagree. In terms of pure “Essential” value, each piece of the the PvMP essence armour is worth approximately 4.92 teal essences (assuming you slot teal essences in the slots) as long as you take them in pairs (i.e. you’re either wearing 2, 4, or 6 of the pieces at any given time). The Dol Amroth pieces are each worth exactly 4.875 teal essences (again, assuming teal essences slotted). You could argue that I’m simplifying here, as I’m just using 4 + 119/136 = 4.875, when the base stat is actually more complicated than that, but that becomes class-specific anyway.

        As to Critical Defense, yes, wearing all 6 pieces yields 15,920 CritDef, or a percentage in the low 60s (assuming no additional CritDef). Outside PvMP, CritDef’s efficacy drops off after 50% because the excess over that only affects devastating hits. With the debatable exception of main tanks, 50% CritDef (a rating of 10,000) is the most you’ll need in PvE. However, think outside the box: you don’t have to wear all 6 of the same set! If you only wear 4 PvMP essence pieces, the CritDef contribution drops down to 11,940, or a percentage in the mid-50s. If this is acceptable to you, then wearing 4 PvMP essences pieces and 2 DA essences pieces is a good combo. However, if you consider the 1940 excess and therefore wasted, this is 0.63 teal essences wasted, meaning you’re better off not using 4 pieces.

        Conclusion: if you play enough PvMP on freepside to justify the commendation purchase of PvMP essence gear (which is likely the best gear in PvMP right now), it’s quite viable to use 2 or 4 of those pieces in PvE, and you should arrange your essences accordingly.

        P.S. I understand that, in PvMP, CritDef still applies to normal crits even after 50%, so PvMP generally encourages a higher CritDef than PvE. Therefore, that 15,920 CritDef on the entire set is quite useful in PvMP.

  4. Thanks for a very nicely written article!

  5. I told Miss Kaleigh long ago that she had a second career as a guide writer if she ever wanted one πŸ™‚

  6. Atair /

    Hi Kaleigh,

    As stated above really great guide. I was just looking into the training exercises as a way to gear up and get some EmPOWERRRment scrolls, and was wondering which faction would you say is the quickest (easiest if you will) to complete for a moderately well geared RK. Just did library and it definitely did not take me 10 mins (won’t baffle you with the time it took me). Other people with knowledge on these matters are also welcome to reply. Thanks in advance.

    • Kaleigh Starshine /

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      I think the Library is the most difficult and time consuming of all the exercises, so it is a shame that one must suffer through that one before having the chance to try the others!

      In my experience, as a Burglar, aiding the Armoury is noticeably faster than any other faction, especially once you have aided them a couple of times and know which foes to battle and which you can leave be. While most of the essences found in their giftboxes are not the best, they do contain Morale essences which are very popular and can be sold for quite a bit, if not needed yourself.

      The Reputation Tomes for barter in the skirmish camps can halve the tokens needed for achieving Acquaintance standing, if you have not already done so, and they come very cheaply (60 Marks and 6 Medallions for +1,000 Reputation).

      I hope this helps, and thank you again for your kind words! πŸ™‚

      • Atair /

        Thanks for the quick response. I was hoping you’d say library sucks, this considerably lessens my embarassment πŸ™‚
        Armoury it is then, I’ll see if I can dust off my RKs sneaking skills a bit…dim the light of my lightning flashes that kind if work πŸ˜‰
        The kind words are well deserved, your article series have given me (and I’m sure many other casual players) the believe that powerful LIs and good gear can be achieved with an acceptable amount of effort and within an acceptable timespan, a prospect which got me increase my time in-game again, which is never a bad thing :). Alright back to the surmountable grind!

      • Kaleigh Starshine /

        You have made my day, and it is still early yet! πŸ™‚

        I think you will find the Armoury a much more pleasant experience! Two things there I have found that help speed things along:

        1. When ‘searching’ the houses, if you can either hide behind one of the braziers or open them from as far back as possible, you can back away as you finish opening the doors. If any Corsairs appear, they will not engage.with you if you are far enough away. You can then leave them be to save some time.

        2. For the main quest, you need to slay 5 ‘bands’ of corsairs. Neither the Strong Corsairs, nor the Corsair Captains that have allies, count toward the five, so they can be avoided entirely which saves a good deal of time. Only the bands of ‘Weak’ corsairs need be slain (4 bands of 3 each, and a single corsair inside the Armoury itself).

        Good luck with the ‘surmountable’ grind! πŸ™‚

  7. That’s an awesome guide, but my answer to Letter (C) is “No”. Some people won’t mind the grind, but I just can’t do it.

  8. Thanks, great work! Hope it is still accurate πŸ˜‰


  1. LOTRO Players News Episode 110: Legendary Junk | LOTRO Players - […] Essences and How to Make the Most of Them […]
  2. LOTRO Academy: 115 – The Essence of Essences | LOTRO Players - […] Essences and How to Make the Most of Them by Kaleigh Starshine […]

Leave a Reply