Game Mechanics

U21: Mordor – Gearing For Success

With each major update we can expect that there will be some degree of change with gear; it is a treadmill that is experienced in all MMOs.  For the most part, the gear follows a progressive pattern of increased stats and/or better set bonuses.  With U21 we are introduced to a new system; Light of Earendil / Shadow of Mordor (see this guide).

Mordor is a place like no other in Middle Earth; and rightfully so the stats and gear required are far different than we have experienced previously.  See here for the U21 Stat Caps.

If you have been away from the game for sometime and used an Aria of Valour / power-leveled your way to 115 you will have skipped the essence gear of U20/21 and the decision on what gear to use for Mordor is easy; the new Light / Shadow stuff.

For those that have slogged their way to 105 and maxed out their toon’s stats via essence gear the decision may be slightly less easy.  Let’s discuss.

If you have Throne T2C / U20 Rep [or craft] gear you may find that it is better than the Light of Earendil (LoE) drops in the early stages of Mordor simply because the Shadow debuff (see chart below) is not yet strong enough to overcome your stats (this assumes that the stats on your gear are better than the LoE stuff).

Shadow Tier Incoming Healing Incoming Damage Outgoing Damage
1 -5% +10% -5%
2 -10% +20% -10%
3 -15% +30% -15%
4 -20% +40% -20%
5  -25%  +50%  -25%
6  -30%  +60%  -30%
7  -35%  +70%  -35%
8 -40% +80% -40%
9 -45% +90% -45%
10 -50% +100% -50%

Once you start reaching Shadow tiers 3 or 4 you will find it noticeably more difficult to kill mobs and you will take much more damage.  It is at this point that you should definitely focus on swapping out your gear for the Light of Earendil stuff.  The light buffs and stats from the early gear drops (even non slotted gear) will quickly outweigh your pre-Mordor gear.

Start by replacing your weakest pre-Mordor gear first and one by one build your Light gear up.

Comparing Gear Stats

Jewellery is easy to compare as it does not typically have set bonuses.  Compare the two pieces below.

Will = (3*149)+355 = 802
802 Will = 6,416 Tact Mast, 802 Tact Mit, and 1,604 Resistance
 Will = (469) = 469
469 Will = 3,752 Tact Mast, 469 Tact Mit, and 938 Resistance
Morale = (4*548 Vitality) = 2,192
Evade = 4,568

Tact Mast = 3*374 = 1,122 + 6,416 (from Will) = 7,538
Morale = 623
Tact Mit = 802 (from Will)
Resistance = 1,604 (from Will)


Tact Mast = 3,752 (from Will)
Morale = 2,192 (from Vitality)
Evade = 4,568
Tact Mit = 469 (from Will)
Resistance = 938 (from Will)

*And all of this is with no essences slotted.  Slot 2 yellow Tactical Masteries (3,384*2 = 6,768)

As you can see there is no comparison between the two pieces; the teal greatly outweighs the gold.

What About Set Bonuses?

If you compare the raw stats like we did with the Jewellery above you will have a pretty good idea about which piece is better.  What if it is close?  Do the set bonuses outweigh replacing the gear?  Let’s assume the set bonus is +10% Tactical Damage when wearing 2 pieces (Pelennor RK set).  How does it compare:

Will = (4*149) + 80 = 676
676 Will = 5,408 Tact Mast, 676 Tact Mit, and 1,352 Resistance
Morale = (4*278)+391 = 1,503
Will = 461
461 Will = 3,688 Tact Mast, 461 Tact Mit, and 922 Resistance
Morale = 538 Vit * 4 =  2,152
Crit = 1,597
Evade 5,391

Tactical Mastery = 5,408
Morale = 1,503
Tact Mit = 676
Resistance = 1,352

+10% Tact Damage (set bonus)


Tactical Mastery = 3,688
Morale = 2,152
Crit = 1,597
Tact Mit = 461
Resistance = 922
Evade = 5,391

Let’s add a yellow Tact Mastery essence (3,384) so we can compare apples to apples.

Tactical Mastery now becomes 7,072.  Add a Shadow Essence instead of the yellow one and the gap widens.

The raw stats from the teal LoE piece are certainly much better than the Pelennor piece.  What about the +10% tactical damage bonus?  If we look purely at the +4 LoE that in itself negates a -4% outgoing damage debuff from the shadow.  So the Pelennor piece is really only +6% Tact Damage (when comparing the two pieces above).  The additional Tactical mastery on the LoE piece, the additional morale, and the crit more than outweigh the +6% bonus on the Pelennor set.

For both examples above I used the Mordor teal gear and level 110.  I realize that this is just one example of the many different set bonuses out there; the same principals and logic apply to all gear.  As painful as it may be, you might find some 106 yellow gear that outweighs your existing stuff.


With U21: Mordor there are new essences.  As of this writing there are yellow versions (Dark Essences and Empowered Dark Essences) from drops and purple versions (Shadow Essences) from crafting.

  • Vitality is better than Morale in all cases.
  • Main stats (Might, Agility, and Will) no longer outweigh pure Mastery.

The rest really depends on your level, class, build, Shadow Effect, and difficulty level (T1 vs. T2C).

Stats – Some Generalizations:

See here for the level 115 U21 Stat Caps.

All Classes

  • Mitigations should be as close to capped as you can for the content you are running (T1 vs. older T2C vs. upcoming T2C).  Light classes will have an easier time of this than Heavies.  Get it as close as you can without suffering elsewhere.
  • Vitality should be used to beef up Morale.

DPS Classes

  • Finesse is important; shoot for a min of 20%
  • Up your Crit.  With the current gear you are unlikely to cap it without suffering elsewhere.  Shoot for a min of 20%.
  • Get your Mastery up

Tank Classes

  • Cap your BPE (13%)
  • Balance your Partial BPE with Vitality; both are important
  • You will need Finesse (10-20%)
  • Slot some Incoming Healing (or get it via gear stats)


  • Up your Crit.  With the current gear you are unlikely to cap it without suffering elsewhere.  Shoot for a min of 20% as you get better gear you will want to be maxed (25% + trait bonuses).
  • Beef up Morale via Vitality
  • Ignore slotting Outgoing Healing essences as it does very little overall compared to other essence choices
  • Ignore Tactical Mastery as it does little to increase Outgoing Healing
  • Consider slotting some Incoming Healing to boost your own survivability

Best In Class

Head – Allegiance
Shoulders – Crafted / Lootbox
Cloak – Allegiance
Chest – Quest Item
Gloves – Allegiance
Legs – Quest
Boots – Ash


6 thoughts on “U21: Mordor – Gearing For Success

  • whmagill

    As I understand it,  ‘Set Bonuses’ have been dropped for ALL gear going forward!

    According to the U21 release notes:

    Set bonuses will no longer appear on future Pelennor gear drops, although existing pieces will retain their bonuses.

    I.e. existing holders of Pelennor armour have a set bonus – new acquirers of Pelennor armour will not see a set bonus.

    Also as I recall, there was a comment made on the forums that the Set Bonus construct was being completely eliminated on future gear.

  • whmagill

    There are now also Crafted Essence recipes available from the Quartermaster for all trades except the “gatherers” (Farmer, Forester, Prospector, Scholar).

    These recipes give you the ability to pick one “Shadowed Essence” of the desired stats.

    See the WIKI:

    These recipes are on an 18 hour cooldown.

  • whmagill

    Oops. Can’t edit postings — The Crafted Essence recipes are Single Use, not 18 hour cooldown.

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