Archive for December, 2013

Trait Trees – Basics

One of the new features of Helm’s Deep is trait trees. Instead of the old trait system, in which you would earn and equip traits, which would then provide you benefits, all characters are now given access to 3 trait trees starting at level 7. By spending points in a trait tree, you upgrade abilities, learn new skills, and gain other bonuses, such as a larger morale pool, or a higher critical hit chance. This post will be a basic guide concerning these new trait trees.


When you first reach level 7, or open up your trait window for the first time (default hotkey is “J”), you will be prompted to choose a specialization. Make sure you take a moment to look over the various benefits and skills each specialization will offer you. By default, at least as a VIP, you have access to 2 trait tree builds at a time. Additional builds may be purchased for 100 Mithril Coins. Each upgrade in your specialization (blue, yellow, or red line) will cost 1 trait point. You can still spend points on upgrades and skills outside of your specialization, but they will cost 2 trait points instead of 1.

As you spend trait points, you will open up abilities farther down the trait tree. By spending points in a specific line, you will open up more upgrades within that line. By spending points in any line, you will open up upgrades found on the leftmost side of the trait window.


Upgrades found within your trait trees include new skills, upgrades to existing skills (+2 Split Shot Max Targets), and general upgrades (+5% Morale). Also, many skills that were previously earned simply by leveling up are now found as trait tree unlocks. Although it varies by class, blue line is generally a healing/mobility build, red line is for DPS, and yellow line is for tanking or utility.

There are a total of 65 trait points that can currently be earned:

  • 45 from leveling up. You get 1 trait point at every odd level beginning at level 7.
  • 8 from class deeds. Class deeds (such as use [skill] 100 times) have now turned into meta-deeds. Complete 3 specific meta-deeds to earn 1 trait point.
  • 3 from class books (formerly legendary deeds).
  • 3 from Moria: 1 for class quest, 1 for complete Vol. II Book 6, and 1 from the book you can get once you have reached maximum reputation with the Iron Garrison Guards.
  • 1 from doing both level 45 class quests.
  • 5 from Helm’s Deep quests: 1 each for completing All Roads Lead to Aldburg, The Road to Dunharrow, The Broadacres Betrayed, Woodhurst Has Fallen, and To Helm’s Deep.

Ssili 1Well, here I am. I grew weary of LOTRO after the Riders of Rohan expansion, and stopped playing for a long time. Recently I decided to purchase Helm’s Deep and give LOTRO another go. Carolinn is now at level cap, which took me maybe a week or so. She has decent gear, although it still needs work. My girlfriend has started playing recently again too, so I’ve been leveling my newest alt, Ssili (a Dwarf Champion), along with her. You can see Ssili in the picture here.

Now, when I logged in on Carolinn for the first time in months, I was definitely shocked. Half of my skills were missing! I started playing around with Trait Trees, and I think (for the most part), I’ve gotten the hang of the new Captain. I don’t really like the new system for my Captain, however, at least not overall. The reason that Captain has been my favorite class for as long as I can remember is that in the midst of a battle, I could jump between different roles. I could focus on DPS, and then suddenly if the healer went down I could switch on the fly to healing mode. Or if I was power-healing, and the tank went down, I could switch roles and jump in as a temporary tank until the healer got our group’s tank back up. That versatility is now lost. With that said, the Captain is now much improved in each individual role. Yellow-line Captains can now actually function as a primary tank for group content. Blue-line Captains are very good healers. Red-line Captains can do very good damage and substantially boost the DPS of the entire party.

I’ve been running Carolinn as a Blue-line Captain for almost everything. Solo? Blue-line, I can out-last anything. Group? Blue-line, my fellowship will never run out of power or morale. For Helm’s Deep Epic Battles, I run Yellow-line; the force-taunt dynamic is extremely useful for keeping mobs away from objectives until your NPC soldiers can kill them.

That brings me to my next topic: Epic Battles. I love them. I love the idea of having a whole new set of skills with the Promotions system. I have 2 Promotion trees, both ranked up to Rank 3. One is a pure Engineer, and the other is a pure Officer. Engineer is extremely fun to play; the equipment, hazards, and traps add an excellent new dynamic for my Captain to take advantage of. I really hope there will be a lot more Epic Battles coming. On my side, you will soon see an Epic Battle Basics post from me.

Overall, I enjoyed the new Helm’s Deep content, although I thought it was a bit short considering the large price tag. I wouldn’t recommend buying it unless it was on sale.