In The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™,
a Trait is an interchangeable ability that alters your
character in some fashion. Traits allow a great deal
of skills customization, so two characters of the same
class and the same level can still be significantly
different from each other depending on how their players
have used Traits to modify their character's skills.
The most basic Traits do fairly simple
things – like increasing your Might stat or your
block rate in combat. These Traits take a number on
your character and make it bigger. Simple, but effective,
these basic Traits are the first ones you will see throughout
the course of your character's advancement.
More complex are the Traits that modify
skills (or groups of skills). For example, one Trait
may add a new effect on a critical hit that it didn't
have before, while another may make a skill uninterruptible
or reduce the power cost of an entire group of skills.
Yet another type of Trait works only after a specific
combat event, allowing you to gain power on a critical
hit or increase your defense on a successful block.
The majority of Traits are passive;
once the Trait is slotted it is always "on,"
providing its benefit to the player. However, there
are some Traits that are active – these Traits,
when slotted, give you an entirely new skill. Like other
skills, they must be placed on your hotbar and activated
to do anything.
Your character doesn't start with active
Traits – far from it. Traits must be earned through
completing Accomplishments (more info on Accomplishments
will be released soon!). When a player earns a Trait,
it goes into their Trait pool. Much like the equipment
in a character's inventory, Traits don't do anything
until they are "equipped" (in our case, dragged
to a Trait slot).
Trait slots are unlocked through leveling.
Combined with Accomplishments, this allows the player
to "grow into" their specialization, building
upon their preferred play style rather than being inundated
with confusing choices at the beginning of the game
that have repercussions much later down the road.
While Traits can be slotted and unslotted,
slotting a Trait is not free. A player can only slot
and unslot Traits while speaking with a Minstrel NPC
in a town; Trait slotting may also have a cost associated
with it. This allows players to re-spec their character
(customizing it to better fill a role, like a healer
in a fellowship, or to better function in solo play)
while still making their choices meaningful.
All Traits are not the same kind. Traits
are grouped into four families: Common, Race, Class,
and Legendary. Each Trait can only be slotted in a slot
of the matching family.
Common Traits are the simplest Trait
types and are available to all players. These are typically
the first slots to be unlocked and the first Traits
to be earned.
Race Traits are slightly more complex.
A player can only earn race Traits of his corresponding
race (e.g., Hobbit may get better at eating but he won't
be able to gain the toughness of a Dwarf).
Class Traits are the bread and butter
of the Trait System. The majority of slots the player
will earn are class slots, and these are the ones that
directly modify class skills, providing much more power
and depth than most race or common Traits.
Finally there's the top tier of Traits:
Legendary Traits. These Trait slots are not unlocked
until the higher levels, and the Traits themselves are
more difficult to earn than others. The goal is for
Legendary Traits to be truly legendary – something
the player can be proud of earning and slotting.
Traits are an incredibly flexible system
that provides enormous flexibility and in turn gives
the players room to develop a unique character of their