The Update 6 Developer Diary is about the coming currency changes to the PvMP side of Lotro. I am not a big PvMP player myself, but I am always very much interested in barter systems and changes, and how they relate to outfitting possibilities.
At the release of Rise of Isengard, before Update 5 went live, it was possible to barter for PvMP armour regardless of class or rank (provided you had enough money to buy the necessary spirit stones). I was lucky to find this out just in time to get some nice items, because with Update 5, all those barter options were taken away again.
When Update 5.1 was released, the class restrictions on bartering for PvMP armour were lifted again, but the rank requirements remained in place. A slight improvement, but still no good if you have no character with PvMP ranks at all.
The Developer Diary promises a new bartering system in the Ettenmoors. Rank requirements for armour will be taken away! This is on one hand very good news, however on the other hand, at the same time this armour will require a new barter currency: commendations. You will only be able to earn commendations through PvMP, so if you don’t PvMP, this change is even worse and cosmetic PvMP armour becomes even further out of reach.
Mind you, I think these changes are very logical, as PvMP armour should not really be accessible for non PvMP-ers, but I always try to find the mazes in the net of the barter systems, so bear with me.
I believe that with Update 6 there will be one last opportunity to get some of that gear:
the old currencies will be converted to the new commendations, so if you accumulate spirit stones now, you will have commendations after Update 6! The only thing we don’t know (and the developer won’t say) is the conversion rate, so I have no idea which items would yield the most commendations.
Please realize that these musings are pure speculation, as it might not turn out this way at all, but I think that by investing in spirit stones today, I may have some commendations after Update 6 and one last opportunity to access some rank-free PvMP armour. It’s a risk, but if you have enough gold it might be worth taking. Commendations will be an account-shared currency so if Update 6 puts the class restrictions back in place on the barters, you would still be able to barter from one of your alts.
Of course I have no idea if this is all going to work, but at least I am going to give it one last try and thought I’d share my gamble with you, in case you are interested in doing the same. If you have any other insights or information, please don’t hesistate to share!