LOTRO’s new light and shadow system looks a lot like the old radiance system

One of Lord of the Rings Online’s more infamous systems was radiance, which heavily penalized players’ stats in certain dungeons unless they had specific gear to counter those negative effects. The near-universal dislike of radiance gear led to its removal and the developers admitting that it didn’t work out so well.

So why bring up radiance today? Because it might be making a comeback in the game under a different name. Dadi’s LOTRO Guides explains one of the new systems coming to the Mordor expansion seems suspiciously similar to the whole radiance concept, except that instead of being limited to dungeons, this will be found on the landscape.

The light and shadow system puts a meter on the UI that shows how much the players are suffering from the Shadow of Mordor. Areas with a higher shadow rating will penalize players’ incoming healing, outgoing damage, and increase the damage of enemy attacks. These shadow effects can be countered by accumulating gear that stacks Light of Eärendil to push back the meter.

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There was discussion about radiance going away when I last played. When I returned last month, I found everything a lot better. So, of course, they are bringing back some BS like that. And this time forcing it across the landscape as well. I think I’ll be sitting out Mordor for a while. Plenty of alts to run up to 105 in the meantime.

Alex Malone

Uggh, radiance killed off a significant portion of the raiding scene during Moria. There were two main issues with the radiance system:

1) Lack of choice – the radiance system forced you to use specific gear, but there was no choice. This railroaded everyone into using the exact same gear, so it determined not only your looks but also your stats and thus the build you had to go for. The freedom LotRO offered was one of it’s best features, so to be denied that freedom really hurt.

2) Gating Content / Player Segregation – so, in vanilla lotro, anybody who was a good enough player could participate in endgame as the focus was on player skill. This meant that casual players could participate in raids with ease as long as they were skilled players. This is what really hurt endgame in Moria – casual players now had to jump through many hoops to collect radiance gear before they could even consider raiding. Most didn’t bother. This really hurt LotRO’s raiding scene as only the hardcore guilds could reliable raid. For semi-hardcore or casual guilds, it made raiding tons harder as you couldn’t get the players.

If SSG can solve these two problems in their new system then everything should be fine. I would guess there probably isn’t much of a raiding community left anyway given the lack of content, so as long as not much content is locked by gear they should be ok.


Seems to be working thus far on Bullroarer. It even encourages you seriously think about using some of the gear you find in the open landscape. As you start to get your light level (and rest of your stats) up, you can venture further off the roads to find what’s there.

It’s not just another update where you grind up some levels then hunt down the new level cap endgame gear. From what’s I’ve played thus far (in a half-ass way), seems fun. I didn’t go too far; however, did not want to spoil everything.

We’ll see soon how it work. Let’s bring that LOTRO community positivity. (Sorry for any negative thought I may have bought last week. A weekend of being among the positivity of what seems like most of the active LOTRO community reminded me again why I love them.)

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Tobasco da Gama

The devil’s in the details, really. As long as getting enough Light pieces to complete landscape quests isn’t too burdensome for soloers, then I don’t have a philosophical objection to this kind of system.


Found my account info from 2010 & have started to play this game again. Forgot how much there is to keep you busy. Devs these days just slap some grafics together, call it a sandbox and expect you to make your own Fun.

Melissa McDonald

LOTRO is an exceedingly deep game that can give you literally years of gameplay, yes.


if you just like experiencing the locations with no interest in getting to the end game there is so much to go through. Way more then you need to hit max level so it helps if you don’t care about being overleveled too. Sometimes I just ride around without really doing anything but looking around in the prettier areas. I used to have alts but I’m probably never going to get through it all on my main let alone extra characters.

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Similar system is—at least judging by the amount of promotion it gets from the devs—a big part of Pantheon.
I understand why it could suck, but at the end of the day is it really any different than any other gear-/time-/quest-/whatever-gated content?

Melissa McDonald

You still lose Morale when you’re around particularly evil places and things, too.

Viktor Budusov

Well the problem with Radiance 1.0 was its progression which gates certain instances and items. New LightShadow system look more interesting as Mordor should deserve to be the darkest place in ME.

Coldin Torrence

One of the big problems with radiance is that it was only implemented half way. At a certain point going through story quests, you were supposed to be able get some innate radiance, which then translated to a permanent hope buff like some of the NPCs had. But they only ever did the gear portion and it just became this annoying gear lock instead.

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Hmmm, systems like this can be interesting, but they’re super easy to make really, really annoying and hard to make fun/interesting. Hopefully they can nail it this time around, especially since it’s applicable out in the open world, and they’ll have more readily available gear to counter these affects without hampering builds etc. (since I’m a total scrub and have no clue how endgame gearing works in LOTRO)