I'm just about to hit Eregion, and before I do so I'm doing some inventory bookeeping. I'm holding on to too much quest gear because I'm unsure what I want to equip. I'm happy with my surviability wearing the x of Fem gear from Angmar, but I miss the quick kills from the Heartmender set from Evendim. In other words, after doing Angmar/Misty/Forochel, I went from a very high Will/Fate and a mediocre Vitality to more balanced stats (which I imagine will serve me well in Eregion/Moria anyway, because everyone says Vit > all while levelling). On the other hand, I'm getting resisted a lot more. I don't know if that's more because resists are more frequent at higher level, or because my Will/Fate took a hit.
I'm just curious about you folks' take on the subject. I recall some bad situations where no amount of high dps would have helped me survive, yet I can also recall situations where a string of crits allowed me to beat encounters I honestly had no business trying with high will/fate gear on.
Also quick question about virtues while levelling. While I understand "it doesn't really matter while you're levelling" is probably a viable answer, with virtues the way they are now, do you folks think that resistances and mitigations are better than the will/fate virtues, even if it lowers my crit and regens even more?
If you are starting Eregion, I guess you are around level 44/45 at least. The Evendim armour is level 36 if I recall it correctly, and even though it does have nice stats it is just way under the level your equipment should be at now.
If you feel the need to improve your equipment right now, find a tailor willing to craft you some light armour appropriate to your level, or buy some at the action house if any is available. Keep in mind though that you will find loads of better gear once you start closing in on Moria.
Don't worry about getting rid of parts of your sets or even your whole set if something better comes along. You probably won't start wearing another full set until you get close to level 60 when the Moria and Lothlorien sets become available.
Personally I try to get the most will for my minstrel while keeping a comfortable amount of vitality. Other stats are really secondary to the minstrel. Just choose whatever comes your way and feels most comfortable to you. If you prefer to do lots of damage on the chance of being defeated, then go for will. If you'd rather take it slow and careful, stack more vitality. Both is viable and mostly depends on your personal playstyle and preferences.
Virtues for levelling are as much a personal choice as is the equipment. Again, stack whichever stat/effect you feel most in need of. Physical mitigation (later tactical) and armour are good choices if you feel too squishy. Go for will if you are content with your survivability to gain more tactical mastery (which gives outgoing damage and healing). Stack vitality (giving morale and some mitigations) or even raw morale if you find you don't have enough of that.
Personally I prefer to concentrate on mitigations first, resistances second, since mitigations reduce all incoming damage (including spike damage) while resistances give a chance to totally resist an effect, but if you don't resist you'll get the whole damage anyway. Again that's my preference, I prefer steady damage reduction to occasional damage avoidance, choose whichever you feel more comfortable with.
To really answer these questions we need to know your class.
But I can at least answer one: The virtues you are almost always: First half are survivability ones that increase vit. or mitagations.
Last half benefit your class so whichever virtues give the stat bonus's that are "important" to your class.
When I leveled I used mainly the 'standard' light crafted armor that my tailor could make, there was no need to make the guild armor for those levels since you are replacing it fairly quickly. I only replaced it with quest rewards when found items that improved both Vitality and Will . There is no point having really high Will and a small Morale pool, therefore getting 1/2 shotted on every quest you do.
Virtues are now mainly used for defensive stats especially at end game, you cannot go wrong having Zeal and Valour in there to help survivabilty and then look at the ones that give physical / tact mitigations.
Getting a Gold Class Item "Soon™" - Currently running 999th ITA Instance
Best armor (good stats, easy to acquire) at level 40 is the Fem set (Aughaire quest arc in Angmar). 5 pieces with bonus, pick your armor level (light, med, heavy). Everything except a hat/helm and cloak. You CAN use this stuff until level 50 (then change out for crit-guild gear). There is also a 3-peice jewelry set.
For the most part I use crit-crafted gear, but at level 39 you can start this arc and it is well worth it.
The Fem set should serve you fine until you get some additional gear from the Vol II Book 1 epics.
For jewellery I also used the sets from Aughaire for quite a while. Of course if you have crafters that can make better it would make things easier.
For stats I never really tried to gear for higher Vi or higher Will specifically. If a piece or a set was an upgrade I tried to use it.
Virues it is all morale, resistances and mitigations for me, compassion, zeal, charity, innocence, valor is what I have slotted since maybe the 20ies. However if some of these virtues are really low compared to some others then it might be worth to put some with main stats.
But an additional 20 vit or will will very unlikely have a big influence on overall morale, power and power regen and tactical mastery compared to the morale you save by slotting mits.