As LotRO really does not go out of its way to explain virtues and particularly which deeds you'll need to pursue to rank each one up, you'll have to go out of the game and do some basic homework or else be left behind.
While I'm not an expert on all things virtue-related, I've certainly been around the block a few times and would like to share 10 strategies that help me to choose and acquire a good set of virtues over the long haul. And getting 16 ranks in five virtues is a long haul, make no mistake.
Whenever I start a new character, my first two stops are on the class forums and Lotro Wiki's virtues page. The forums often have threads on what others are slotting, which gives me a good idea what I should be examining, at least. Yes, you'll want to choose what's best for you and your playstyle, but it can't hurt to at least listen to others who have a lot more experience with that class and examine what they have to say.
Lotro Wiki provides straightforward information as to which stats each virtue bolsters (each virtue has a primary, secondary, and tertiary stat) as well as what you'll need to do to acquire each rank. Keep in mind that right now you only need 16 ranks, which means that you have some leeway in your deed choices. Personally, I always ditch dungeon deeds first and overly grindy slayer deeds second.
Strategy #2: Don't buy virtues outright
Although the LotRO store sells full ranks of virtues, they are obscenely expensive and will make you broke so dang fast if you try to finance your way through the ranks. Just don't.
Strategy #3: Strongly consider "The Big Four"
In my research and play experience, I've found that morale and mitigations are at a premium in regard to virtues and other stats not so much. This is because that your main class stats are easy to get through armor, but mitigations are much more rare and morale is always needed.
So I keep coming back to what I call the Big Four: Zeal, Valour, Innocence, and Compassion. The latter two focus on physical mitigation, which helps blunt the damage you'll be receiving in a majority of your landscape encounters (some recommend focusing on tactical mitigation instead if your focus is on doing high-end instances). Valour delivers a huge chunk of morale, and Zeal, well, Zeal does everything: morale, mitigation, and armor.
Strategy #4: Make a checklist of virtues by zone
Once I pick my five virtues and the deeds I'll be chasing to acquire them, I create a text document that organizes all of these deeds by zone. I really hate backtracking, so this helps to give me a "to do" list while I'm in a particular region as well as a handy checklist for deeds I may have missed.
Strategy #5: Keep in mind the virtues you need every time you go into a new zone
With your list in hand, you'll want to be thinking about your virtues as you quest through a particular zone. If you need a certain mob for a slayer deed, then make sure to kill all that you see. Some landmarks for exploration deeds aren't too far off your questing path, so get them now while you're there. Just generally be thinking about what you want to accomplish and you'll find that you'll be making headway on several deeds at once without much extra effort.
One of the things I love about new characters is that they really rake in bonus Turbine Points through deeds. It's worth going through your deed log and seeing how close you are to finishing up virtues and other deeds, even if they're not ones you need to do. Those extra five, 10, and 15 TP add up!
Strategy #7: Do quest and explorer deeds at-level (generally)
A majority of deeds fall into one of three categories: do X quests in a zone, explore X landmarks, or kill X of a certain thing. I find that explorer deeds are by far the easiest to mop up and are usually half-finished by the time you wrap up questing in a zone. So my recommendation is to focus on quest and explorer deeds in zones at your level, as you'll be getting useful gear and XP rewards from the quests you do.
Strategy #8: Save slayer deeds for later (generally)
Ah, the dreaded slayer deeds. These form the biggest complaint I have with the virtue system, as they're way too grindy and often too far out of the path of normal questing. So you have a choice: You can do slayer deeds at-level for nice XP and gobs of loot, or you can hold off until you're overleveled enough that you can one-shot everything. Time-wise, the latter is a lot less frustrating and far more quick to accomplish, as long as you stake out a good grinding area.
Strategy #9: Grab a friend -- or make a new one
These last two deeds are to help with the slayer grind. If I'm in a common mob farming area and see other players doing the same thing, then I'll always toss out a fellowship invite. While we can tag the same mobs now, it's kind of nice to group and speed up the process. I'm always amazed how fast these deeds can be done with a group of just two or three versus being solo.
Strategy #10: Speed up slayer deeds
OK, completely disregard this tip if you have a vendetta against the LotRO store, but I've become hooked on buying slayer accelerators for the more grindy deeds. Doing this depends on your monetary situation and whether you can swallow the vast injustice of Turbine making money instead of just cutting these absurdly ridiculous grinds down (which I'm all in favor of, don't get me wrong), but they do help so much.
I've waited for the accelerators to go on sale and then purchased a couple of bundles of them for my up-and-coming characters. A 90-minute buff is usually enough to overcome pretty much any slayer deed, but those come with the added bonus of doubling class deed progress as well. If you plan it right, you could get your virtue plus a class deed or two in no time at all.
Those are my tips for virtues; what are yours?
When not enjoying second breakfast and a pint of ale, Justin "Syp" Olivetti jaws about hobbits in his Lord of the Rings Online column, The Road to Mordor. You can contact him via email at email@example.com or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.