LOTRO Legendarium: Understanding LOTRO’s Virtue System

As you look at your character gaining power and progression Lord of the Rings online, you will see four main categories. There are levels that automatically give you stats. Then there’s acquiring gear (including legendary items and essences) to bolster those stats. We can look to talents for additional ways to equip a build.

And then there are virtues.

Since release, the Virtue system has been a little overlooked, a little misunderstood, and a little underappreciated. In recent years it has become more important to the overall strength of your character build and should not be neglected. So today we’re going to take a look at virtues – how to get them, which ones to strive for and why they help you.


Overview of virtues

The Virtue system is another way for you to improve various stats on your character – and you should, as every perk helps and a fully leveled Virtue can have a significant impact on you. At level 23, you have five slots on your Virtues tab that you can fill with any mix of the 21 virtues available in the game.

Each Virtue is a bunch of different stats that are ranked into primary (most given), secondary, and tertiary (least given) strengths when that virtue is in one of your five slots. For example, honesty consists of tactical mastery (primary), will (secondary), and critical evaluation (tertiary).

In addition, each Virtue also contains passive bonuses that are “always active” even if you don’t have that Virtue equipped. This way, each virtue benefits your character in some way – just some more than others.

In order to upgrade Virtues, you need to accumulate “Virtue XP” – get ready for that. This type of XP is primarily gained from completing deeds, although you can get more from quest wrappers and store boosts. At all times, you have a Virtue toggled to EARN, which means that all Virtue XP earned will be attributed to that Virtue’s rank. You should change this manually from time to time so you don’t accidentally put XP into an unwanted Virtue after maxing out a Virtue’s rank.

The Virtue rank cap increases with your level, eventually increasing to 85 as of Spring 2023. From experience, I’ll say that completing at least half the deeds for a given zone you’re traversing will bring more than enough XP to stay up on the virtue treadmill.


virtue strategy

The first thing you want to do is, at level 6 or 7, choose your first virtue to pursue and complete these relatively easy deeds in the newbie zones. You really don’t have to do this or anything hardcore; it just helps to get started right away. Remember that you can level up Virtues even if you don’t place them (or the slots are still available for your build).

So which are the five you want to pick? Everyone has an opinion on this, of course, and my own is pretty simple. You should focus on your primary value, either physical or tactical mastery (depending on whether you’re a physical weapon user or a “sorcerer” type), and then a survival-focused virtue (i.e., extra morale). or crit-focused (especially if your build relies on crits to trigger abilities).

The LOTRO Wiki has an amazingly useful matrix that can help you sort through all the virtues to find your five core values. Do you remember that every virtue usually has three values? This also means that each statistic usually has two, three, or four virtues associated with it.

So let’s give my minstrel here as an example. Using the matrix, I first look at what virtues give will to my physique. That would be honesty and wisdom. Next comes tactical mastery and I can see that honesty and wisdom and wit are also there. That gives me three of my five right there. Critical Rating is pretty important for Minstrels, so adding Confidence and Patience increases this while also giving me an extra level of Evasion, Finesse, and Power. Alternatively, I could trade Patience for Loyalty for a chunk of extra Armor and Morale.

I find it very easy to max out all my virtues while leveling, so I make sure to have a few secondary virtues that I want to level up for their secondary stats as well.

Some of the best secondaries you can get are the ones that award physical and tactical mastery. Keep in mind that these are always active, so a damage boost is more helpful than a touch of extra health (which the other half of Virtues offer in their passive section).

It honestly never hurts to visit your class’s forum to see what others are choosing for that class or even a specific build, as there are instances where a certain stat is much more desirable than others. This could be the case if you’re building a tank setup, for example, and need defense rather than attack.

That’s it for virtues! Just don’t neglect them, especially if you’re new to the game. Getting into the mid-game only to realize this whole progression system is at play is going to cause a backtracking headache. It’s best to put it on, I say.

blankEvery two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium embarks on an adventure (terrible things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since it released in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.


Curtis Crabtree

Curtis Crabtree is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Curtis Crabtree joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: curtiscrabtree@24ssports.com.

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