Posted Fri, Dec 09, 2011 by gunky
A warrior trains with his weapon so that it becomes an extension of himself, as much a part of his being as his own arm. The more he trains with it, the more intuitively it enhances his fighting style and adds to his prowess. When a warrior survives long enough for his name to become legendary, his weapon of choice becomes legendary also, spoken of in frightened whispers among his enemies. This was certainly true of the legendary weapons encountered in the Lord of the Rings books - Orcrist, Glamdring, Narsil and other such fearsome tools were well-known among the orcs and goblins, hated perhaps even more than the warriors who wielded them. This is also true in the Lord of the Rings Online, where the Legendary Item system allows players to forge their own legacies in steel.
The Legendary Item (LI) system is a complex beast and can be bewildering for newer players, who often end up asking for advice on regional and global chat channels. These are the questions that come up most frequently.
First things first - head to Echad Dunnan in Eregion at level 45 and do Volume II Book 1. This is the soonest you can get Legendary Items - the book introduces you to the system and allows you to use the Forge-masters and Relic-masters throughout Middle Earth when you complete it. If you start this chain at level 45, the LIs you get from it will be the best weapons you can have for quite a while. The un-leveled, starter LIs you get from this chain tend to have excellent legacies at relatively high tiers, and will be much better than anything else you can get in that level range. The next leveled LIs you can get start at level 51, so you'll likely be using your first LI for 6 levels or so.
After you have completed the book, you can start stockpiling LIs by killing level 50-plus humanoid mobs (orcs, goblins, trolls, hillmen, Angmarim, etc.) in Eregion, Moria, Lothlorien, Mirkwood, Enedwaith, Dunland and in places like Carn Dum. Mobs tend to drop LIs that match their level, so a level 58 orc in Lothlorien will drop level 58 LIs.
Third Age items are fairly common, and it's easy to build up a huge stockpile if you go around the higher-level areas completing slayer deeds. You will likely find loads of LIs for other classes and few for your own, so you can sell or give away the ones you don't need, or deconstruct them for relics. Level 60, 65 and 75 Third Age LIs can also be crafted rather inexpensively by Supreme and Westfold crafters with high crafting guild standing (Artisan of the Guild for Level 60 & 65, Master of the Guild for Level 75). Low-level LIs can also be purchased from the LI vendors throughout Middle-earth by exchanging Rusted Dwarf Tools and Khuzdul Tablets. Higher-level ones can be purchased from reputation vendors in Mirkwood and Enedwaith, or from skirmish camps.
Second Age items are much rarer. Level 53 - 60 Second Age LIs can occasionally be looted from mobs in Moria and Lothlorien as rare drops. These are usually worth hanging onto for a while, and good ones can fetch a respectable price on the Auction House. There is a gap between level 60 and level 65, and level 65 Second Age LIs can only be crafted by Supreme crafters with Artisan of the Guild standing, requiring a Symbol of Celebrimbor which can be purchased at skirmish camps or occasionally found in chest loot in some instances. There is another level gap between 65 and 75, and level 75 Second Age LIs are crafted by Westfold crafters with Master of the Guild standing, requiring a Worn Symbol of Celebrimbor which is a raid drop.
First Age items are even more rare. Currently, there are only level 59, 60 and 65 First Age Legendary Items in the game (level 75 First Age items will come with Update 5), and can only be earned by raiding. Level 59 & 60 First Age items can be purchased from the LI vendors in Moria, Lothlorien, Bree and __ by exchanging Bright Emblems of Nimrodel which drop from the raid instances in Moria. Level 65 First Age items are crafted by Supreme crafters with Artisan of the Guild standing, and require a Symbol of the Elder King, which drops in Ost Dunhoth. Crafted level 75 First Age items will require a Worn Symbol of the Elder King, which will drop from the Tower of Orthanc raid in Isengard in Update 5.
There are a few factors that determine whether or not a particular Legendary Item is worth using. Ideally, it should have legacies that match and enhance your play-style. For example, if you are a solo Guardian who mostly uses Overpower, a belt with lots of threat generation and shield-based legacies is probably not great, but if you are a group-tank Guardian, those are precisely the legacies you want. If you are a DPS-type class, the legacies on your LI should make you hit harder or more often. If you're a healer, they should make your healing skills more effective either by reducing the power cost or by buffing the healing output.
The only way to know whether a specific LI has potential or not is to get it to level 30 to add the remaining 3 legacies at reforges. If it gets all Minor legacies, it's probably safe to trash it (unless you find those particular legacies desirable). If it gets one or two Major legacies during reforges, even if they are ones you don't particularly care for, it's probably worth hanging on to. Legacies can always be replaced later, and if you get more Majors than Minors, you have more options for building your ideal item. Major legacy scrolls can only replace Major legacies, but Minor legacy scrolls can replace either, so if you have more Major legacies, they can be replaced with other, more-desirable Majors from scrolls. But if you have a lot of Minor legacies, you're stuck with other junk Minor legacies or stat scrolls.
On the other hand, if it identifies with all weak Major legacies at low tiers, it's safe to trash it.
Sometimes, what looks like an "upgrade" might not be worth it in the long run. Consider the case of the Veteran Hunter.
Long, long ago, when new LIs could be identified with 2-4 starting legacies (instead of the current system, which always identifies a new LI with 3), this Veteran Hunter got himself a level 65 Second Age crossbow. It took a lot of trial and error - back in those days, you couldn't swap out bad legacies, and if, after much toil and sweat, you got a 2nd Age item that ID'ed with bad legacies, you were stuck with them.
At level 30, the Veteran Hunter's crossbow had 7 legacies, 4 of which were Majors (Pool A back then). With much toil and sweat, the Veteran Hunter slotted all top-tier relics, upgraded every legacy with Scrolls of Empowerment and maxed many of them out, and increased the maximum level to 70 with a Scroll of Delving. It took months of refinement, and winning a couple of lotteries helped, but in the end, he had what he felt was The Perfect Crossbow.
Warp ahead a few months. Veteran Hunter wins a Symbol of the Elder King in Ost Dunhoth, and crafts himself a First Age crossbow. It identifies with only 3 Major legacies, and gets only 1 more from a reforge - 4/6. Comparing the two:
In the end, Veteran Hunter decides against making the switch. At best, it would be a side-grade rather than an upgrade, and would take more work than it was really worth. He continued using the Second Age.
However, the reverse is also sometimes true - what looks like a "downgrade" might actually be an "upgrade." Again, consider the case of the Veteran Hunter.
He has used his level 65 Second Age "perfect" crossbow through Dunland, and is now level 72. He finds a level 71 Third Age crossbow on an orc in Gravenwood, which identifies with three good legacies at decent tiers. He decides to slot the new crossbow and see how it works out, leveling it up to 51 with some stored runes. Comparing the two:
This one is a much easier decision. Veteran Hunter makes the switch to the Third Age, retiring his trusty and beloved Second Age from active duty. Mobs fall much faster now, and he never looks back. The DPS increase on the higher-level item far outweighs the lesser qualities.
In a word: grind. There are basically two ways to get Tier 7 relics, and both ways involve a lot of repetitive toil. You can either run a lot of 12-man level 75 skirmishes and instances and hope to win a roll (or until you earn enough marks to buy some high-tier sealed relics from a skirmish camp), or you can hoard a bunch of trash Third Age LIs and decon them, combining relics until you get Tier 7s.
If you have loads of class-appropriate LIs in your vault, or loads of Khuzdul Tablets and Rusted Dwarf Tools, you can level them up a bit before you decon them. You don't need to get them all the way to level 30, or even as high as 10. You get a good selection of relics at level 2 or so - equip them, go out and kill a couple of on-level mobs, go back to the Relic-master and decon, rinse and repeat as necessary. You earn slightly more higher-tier relics from higher-level LIs, but on the time-vs-payout scale, level 2 is more efficient.
There are a couple of answers to this one, and it depends on why you want to deconstruct your LI in the first place.
If you are looking to grind it into relics, don't waste a lot of time leveling it up. You get plenty at level 2 or so. Yes, you can get higher-tier relics from higher-level decons, but if you're doing "bulk processing" for relics, don't worry about getting them past level 5 or so. Getting a Legendary Item all the way to level 30 takes a while, and the payout isn't much higher.
If you are looking to pull a legacy scroll from the item, get it to 31. You get a few more relics at 31, plus a legacy scroll.
There's not really any point in getting a LI to max level if you're not actively using it. For trash you just want to scrap for relics or scrolls, 31 should be the highest it needs to be. Anything beyond that is just taking up space and wasting time.
For current endgame content, Beleriand is the best damage type. Beleriand damage is strong against half-orcs, which are plentiful in Isengard, and Ancient Evil, which are plentiful in skirmishes. Westernesse is a close second - it may prove more valuable in some skirmishes and instances where there are lots of undead. If you decide on Westernesse, get one of the Numenorean Uruk-slayer scrolls from Enedwaith - they do Westernesse damage, plus additional damage to orc-kind. Beleriand + slayer scrolls can be purchased in Mirkwood at Thangulhad, and the Beleriand + orc-slayer scroll from the Galadhrim rep vendor in Caras Galadhon is still one of the best damage scrolls in the game. You can get a basic Beleriand scroll from the repeatable Midnight Raid instance in Echad Dunnan in Eregion.