In a new dev diary, the LotRO systems team lays out the path for itemization improvements, including where we've been in the game and where we're going with gear. Two of the biggest concerns that the team identified to fix were minute increments between gear upgrades and the inability to predict what combination of equipment players would use to hit the stat caps. Therefore, the caps will be removed and players should see more substantial gear upgrades with the expansion.
The diary goes on to share how different segments of the player community will be able to access top-of-the-line gear in the future, including solo players, crafters, casual groupers, and raiders. Other interesting tidbits include desirable yellow gear, gear dropping in instance chests, and the addition of a non-gating stat called Finesse.