There has been some debate about this on the forums and some of the feedback there related to how many essence sockets were available and what quality of essences you used.
I mostly play a level 100 Lore-master so I will be using light armour sets as an example, looking at the potential stats for each set and with different essence qualities.
The main stats I will be prioritising are Will, Vitality, Tactical Mastery and Critical Rating. Fate is nice-to-have but I assume I'll either pick up some passively or will get it from elsewhere (e.g. accessories/virtues).
Skirmish CampsI thought the Skirmish Camps had a full armour set, but it is only helmet, shoulders and gloves in the non-essence gear and head and gloves with 3 essence slots each. Here are the base stats they could provide:
|Stat||Non-Essence||Essence (Empty Slots)|
I would pretty much only use these if I was desperate for gear and couldn't find anything on the AH or any crafters who could make something.
In such circumstances, I would only use the essence armour if I had some appropriate essences in the Vault but I wouldn't waste good quality essences on armour which I would hope to soon replace with something better.
Dol Amroth - class-specific armour setThese armour sets have fixed stats. The Armour of the Night Watcher for lore-masters provides:
Dol Amroth - Nadhin armour setThe armour available from the vendors have 4 essence slots per piece of armour - 24 in total for the set. Assuming I used Will, Vitality, Tactical Mastery and Crit Rating essences in each piece of armour, the potential stats are shown below:
Based on this, if I was going to use this armour, I might only use 2 or 3 Critical Rating essences and replace the others with more Vitality to improve survival. I could also swap a couple of Tactical Mastery essences for other stats such as Fate or Finesse.
Using Supreme essences provide extra stats (e.g. Supreme Tactical Mastery also gives a little Max Power) which is a definite bonus compared to using the lower quality essences.
Scalable Instances - "Greater Resolute" setsThese items drop by chance so obtaining a full set may be difficult, however, you could also mix and match sets based on what's available or which pieces have better stats for you.
These might be useful gap-fillers until something better is available.
World Drop - light armour set with bonusesThese armour sets have fixed stats. These items drop by chance so obtaining a full set may be difficult. The stats below include the set bonuses.
|Stat||Western Shore||Guardian of the Watchwood|
Both of these sets are low in will and vitality. The tactical mastery and fate are high, critical rating is ok and the finesse in the Western Shore set is pretty good if you need it. Personally I think the low will and vitality but high fate and secondary stats makes these armour sets more suitable for "glass cannon" builds rather than general purpose builds. I think even for "glass cannons" they would want more of the primary damage stat (in this case, will).
Maybe a few pieces of these sets may be helpful for filling in gaps until something better is available.
Osgiliath InstancesThere are class-specific (even spec-specific) armour sets with fixed stats and set bonuses, and essence armour set available for barter with 5 essence slots per piece.
Class-specific sets for Lore-masters
|Stat||Osgiliath Armour of the Animal-friend||Armour of Osgiliath's Fury||Osgiliath Armour of the Ancient Master|
Very nice having the slightly different flavours of stat distributions. These are clearly more suited for instances compared to the Dol Amroth class sets - these have more will and finesse and less vitality (can focus more on damage when you have a healer looking after your health), whereas the Dol Amroth sets have more balanced stats.
Osgiliath essence armour (Armour of Faramir's Faithful)
With no base stats except armour, I would be looking at using 2 will, 1 vitality, 1 tactical mastery and 1 critical rating essences for starters (shown below). Some of the critical rating and tactical mastery essences could be swapped for other stats - some more vitality, fate and finesse for example.
This is almost identical to the Dol Amroth Nadhin armour, just more armour and more will when using greater or supreme essences.
Crafted Anórien armourBy default, the crafted armour is of incomparable quality and has 3 essence slots per item. Critical results are epic quality but only the amount of armour and base morale increase from what is shown below.
Since these already have a chunk of morale on them, I would skip the vitality essence and just use will, tactical mastery and critical rating, maybe swapping a few for other stats.
Yuck. That's not much will! I think I'd have to sacrifice some tactical mastery and critical rating and use 2 will essences per item, and 1 tactical mastery for half the set and 1 critical rating for the other half.
That looks a little better, in terms of will, but the loss of tactical mastery and critical rating means that this is probably not as good as the Nadhin armour. Let's check.
Comparison of crafted armour (version #2 essences) and Nadhin armour using Greater essences. Note that 1 Will = 8 Tactical Mastery and 1 Vitality = 3 Morale.
|Tactical Mastery||3687 + (1632*8) = 16743||7374 + (1530*8) = 19614|
|Morale||6246||816*3 = 2448|
The Nadhin set is better than the crafted Anórien set for armour, tactical mastery and critical rating but won't increase morale by as much.
Minas Tirith Fellowship armourThis is similar to the crafted armour in that it has 3 essence slots and morale, but it also comes with baseline primary stats (will for light armour). It should therefore be better.
Assuming that 1 will, 1 tactical mastery and 1 critical rating essence is used in each piece (not using vitality because the armour already has baseline morale):
This might actually be quite similar to the Nadhin armour in stats. Again, comparing using Greater essences:
|Tactical Mastery||7374 + (1584*8) = 20046||7374 + (1530*8) = 19614|
|Morale||4944||816*3 = 2448|
Hooray! We have a new champion!
One last comparison - class-specific armour versus Minas Tirith armour:
|Stat||Dol Amroth class set||Osgiliath's Fury set||Minas Tirith|
|Tactical Mastery||1382 + (1434*8) = 12854||1608 + (2160*8) = 18888||7374 + (1584*8) = 20046|
|Morale||1230*3 = 3690||578 + (540*3) = 2198||4944|
The Osgiliath class sets are better than the Dol Amroth set, but the essence armour is better still.
With the introduction of essence armour and empty essence slots, it can be more difficult to compare armour when you can't see all the stats. There are so many different ways people could fill those essence slots - some people might stack one stat, while others try to balance their gear. I have described what I would do. Your mileage may vary.
In conclusion, I would have to pick the Minas Tirith fellowship armour, obtained with tokens earned by completing daily quests around Pelennor Fields, as the best armour currently available.