Not loot centric.
Upgrade weapons by adding combinations of runes that come as drops from orc captains.
Too early to tell as far as character development but you play the part of a ranger, so bow/sword/dagger are all part of your gameplay. There seem to be quest lines that speak to specific skills, so you may lean toward more stealth play or ranged or up close and personal depending on what you choose to focus on.
It's definitely heavy on the action play, but some interesting elements underneath. Apparently you can have one or more orc minions that you show favour for and help them move up the ranks in the orc army. Double agents i guess.
From what I've seen online this can be used to your advantage by pitting them against a higher level captain as a distraction if you say have to get to an objective behind enemy lines. (I haven't got into this yet, but is my understanding from some gameplay reading I skimmed)
Any orc that kills you gets promoted to an officer type status and begins to gain power and influence in the army. They also get flagged if you want to go back and get some revenge. They even seem to fight each other and kill one another.
Overall, based on limited play I'm liking being dropped into Mordor, it's a fun experience. :)