In case you were wondering, the Mordor LI relics cannot be refined into shards. This means you may not want to bother using a Relic Removal Scroll when you want to replace them.
LI relics are bound to character once you deconstruct the sealed relic to be able to slot it, so you can't use it for another character. Recall that (unlike essences), you can slot a new relic on top of the old one. It destroys the old one, but in this case, unless you have another LI to put it in, there probably isn't any use for it.
There are new Rare and Incomparable Vanguard Runes that drop in the instances and raid and have different effects. The rares have been selling for 200g, the incomparable for 2000g+.
There are three types: Striking increases Base Combat Damage Modifier, Enchantment increases Tactical Damage Rating, and Binding increases Tactical Healing Rating. The rare version increases these by 76.8, the incomparable by 96.
Unfortunately, it is not clear what number they are actually increasing. Adding 76.8 to 1415 (which seems to be the case for my hunter's bow) is not as significant as adding it to 206.5 (which seems to be the case for my minstrel's songbook).
I posted a couple messages in the LOTRO forums about this. In case you missed them, here are the basic results.
For Michaleo's bow, I did careful measurements of actual damage and compared it to the differences in the numbers in the skill tooltips to show that the actual damage increase was consistent with the tooltips. It is much more difficult to do the same comparisons for healing skills, so I just assumed the tooltips would be consistent with actual heals.
The Rune of Striking in the bow increased the DPS and damage number shown on the LI by 5.4%, but no skills actually increased that much. Penetrating Shot and Barrage were 1-2%. Although the initial damage from Barbed Arrow increased 4%, the bleeds from this and other skills are not affected by the Rune of Striking. Since none of my favorite skills had much of an improvement, the Last Alliance Rune of Force with 4264 Physical Mastery is a better choice, since that increased skill damage more and by the same percentage for all skills including bleeds.
The Rune of Enchantment on my minstrel's weapon had a 7-16% increase in damage, depending on the skill. This amount is greater than you would get from the Tactical Mastery in the Last Alliance Rune of Power, so it is worth getting. Because the DPS and damage range on the sword is for the physical damage from the strike skill, I couldn't guess what number was increased by 76.8.
The Rune of Binding had a much bigger impact. In this case, the base number seems to be 206.5 for a maxed songbook. +76.8 is a 37% increase, and most skills showed that. Soliloquy of Spirit was somewhat less, and Fellowship's Heart was only 3%. A second Rune of Binding in the weapon increased it a further 27%! Since the weapon has a damage rating, not a healing rating, this was a surprise. Two runes of binding are definitely worth it. If you don't have separate weapons for healing and damage, you'll have to decide whether you want the increase in damage or the increase in healing.
For a guardian, the Rune of Striking has a 4-5% increase in 2H DPS, but 6-7% increase in 1H DPS, since the base DPS is lower and it adds a fixed amount. Unfortunately, it does not increase bleeds, which are usually an important part of guardian damage. It does nothing for shield skills, and you lose the 3% from the Physical Mastery in the rune it replaced. Surprisingly, the Rune of Enchantment in the guardian belt increases shield damage by 24%. Because it works like the Rune of Binding for minstrels, you can put a second one in your weapon to get another 20% for a total of almost 50% more shield damage versus the 6% non-shield and bleed damage you lose because of the loss of Physical Mastery.
The LOTRO forums have a variety of claims about these runes. They seem to be class dependent and vary from skill to skill. If you are going to slot one, please jot down the tooltip numbers for your favorite skills before and after to see if you get similar or different results and let us know.
I'm in the process of upgrading my gear for Michaleo, Nodread and Wrytune. I thought I would start a thread for any observations or tips.
At this point, I have mostly teal/incomparable item level 330 gear bartered for Ashes or allegiance rep. Chest and legs are teal IL 326 quest rewards. Offhand weapon and shields are purple/rare IL 330 crafted or bartered for Silver Signets of the Armsman.
There are three categories of new gear:
* Teal IL 345 gear requires completion of the raid at tier 2, so I'm not expecting to have any of that any time soon.
* Teal IL 337 armour is bartered for 1750 Ashes. I haven't found any teal IL 337 jewellery.
* Purple IL 337 gear is bartered for 700 Ashes for armour, shields or offhand weapons, and 550 Ashes for jewellery or cloak.
Older teal IL 330 gear is 420 Ashes for armour or 330 Ashes for jewellery.
There are teal IL 330 cloak and hands pieces available for 130 Preserved Relics of the Last Alliance and a ring for 100 of them, if you have those and want to save Ashes. If like me you have accumulated stacks of them doing the dailies, you can get extras of these pieces to be able to swap, for example, to switch from DPS to tanking. Besides the different stats, there are two essence slots each in the cloak and hands.
It seems to me that purple IL 337 gear is not worth buying. For non-essence jewellery, purple IL 337 items have lower stats than the corresponding teal IL 330 items and cost more Ashes. For armour and jewellery with essence slots, the somewhat higher stats on the purple IL 337 items don't make up for having one less essence slot and they also cost more Ashes. Of course, this assumes that you are able to get whatever essences you want to fill the slots.
Replacing my IL 326 chest and legs pieces with teal IL 337 is the first thing to do, since the stat difference is higher and they can hold the t10 Empowered Abyssal essences that are currently the highest available. (IL 326 items can use only t9 essences). Teal IL 330 armour and essence jewellery can take the top essences, so I will keep those and upgrade the essences.
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