Choosing Your Virtues
The short answer is: it depends on many factors. While this is true, it amounts to a non-answer. So we're going to pull on our rubber boots and try not to touch anything metal.
Virtues for Leveling to 50While leveling to 50, you'll want to be a strong soloer -- able to progress efficiently and cope with challenging content alone or in small fellowships. Survivability should be your primary objective when choosing virtues to equip. You can't fight when you are taking a dirt nap.
Most of the pre-50 content was released in the Shadows of Angmar era, when the max level was 50. The game mechanics you experience in SoA are simpler in some ways than you see in Mines of Moria and Siege of Mirkwood content. Class roles are less defined and grouping opportunities are less common than post-50. We recommend the following virtue sets for the best survivability and class stats for pre-50 content:
1. Every class can benefit from survivability stats: Morale, Vitality, Armour, and Morale Regen. Use four of your five virtue slots for survivability traits. Choose the ones you have the highest ranks of from among Innocence, Valour, Empathy, Loyalty, Justice, Zeal and Compassion (Hunters only).
2. Use the fifth slot for a virtue that gives a key stat to boost your DPS.
- Captains, Champions, Guardians and Wardens need Might to improve melee damage. Slot Discipline as your class virtue.
- Burglars need Agility to improve their crit rate and enable the use of class skills. Hunters need Agility to improve ranged damage, hit chance and crits. Slot Determination as your class virtue.
- Minstrels, Lore-masters and Rune-keepers need Will to improve tactical damage (and heals). Slot Wisdom as your class virtue.
Free and Premium TacticsIf you are a Free or Premium player you will only be able to slot two virtues until you unlock more slots. Equip as many virtues as you can from those listed above, starting with the ones you have ranked highest. In general, it's a higher priority to unlock class trait slots than virtue trait slots, but all are helpful.
Also, if you plan to continue playing past 50, consider subscribing for a month to unlock a bunch of per-character features that would otherwise cost you TP. See Choosing an Account Type for more info.
Virtues for Leveling Post-50As you continue leveling post-50, things change. First, the damage you take in Moria hurts! If you haven't unlocked all of your trait slots yet, consider doing so now: the bonuses from a full set of virtues and class traits will be very helpful for your journey into Moria. Make sure you have Innocence for Melee Defence (or Compassion for Ranged Defence, if you are a Hunter) slotted as one of your survivability traits.
Next, as you group more, you need to be aware of how virtues support your group role.
- Damage dealers will want to hang onto their class stat virtue, as these are the biggest contribution your can make to damage through virtues.
- Healers will want to slot Wisdom for the boost Will gives to heal size.
- Tanks will want to trait resists and mitigations as needed for the content. For example, traiting Fidelity for Shadow Defence or Charity for Wound Resist.
Virtues for the Level Cap
There is no cap for Morale or Power, which is why virtues like Valour and Justice are so popular. It's also difficult to hit the cap for Resistances and Mitigations, so you can safely ignore these.
Armour is a very desirable survivability stat for all classes, which is why Empathy is a popular virtue. The real cap associated with Armour is Common Mitigation, which can be seen by hovering over "Common" on your character sheet. The cap is 30% for light armour wearers, 40% for medium and 50% for heavy. If you are near or at these caps, consider replacing Empathy with another virtue.
The cap for core stats (Vitality, Might, Agility, Will and Fate) is 650. In Defence of Middle-earth (aka IDOME), a captain buff commonly used in groups, adds 50 to Vitality, Might, Agility, Fate and Will, so stop 50 short of the cap for these stats.
Virtues for Raiding
- In Vile Maw, the Watcher has an area-of-effect attack called Crushing Devastation that can be mitigated by Melee Defence. Everyone in the raid should slot Innocence to offset the burden on the healers. See The Preying Mantis Guide to Defeating The Watcher for a great walk-through for this encounter.
- Many bosses in Dar Narbugud have area-of-effect attacks that do tactical damage. Everyone in the raid should slot Tolerance for Tactical Defence. Tanks (and anyone else getting hit) should also slot Innocence for Melee Defence. See this Guide to Dar Narbugud for a walk-through.
- After defeating Durchest, the first boss in Barad Guldur, a bard appears - a not-so-subtle hint that you need to trait differently for each of the three boss encounters here. For virtues, everyone should slot Tolerance and Fidelity (Shadow Defence) for the first two bosses. For the final boss, replace Tolerance with Innocence. Your role and/or raid leader may have other requirements. See the Instances and Raids forum and Preying Mantis' Guide to Defeating The Lt. of Dol Guldur for walk-throughs.