EQ2 offers you numerous ways to advance your character's development. Your character can attain 90 levels of experience in his chosen adventure class, and 90 levels in a tradeskill class that you choose later. In addition, your character will earn "alternate advancement points", which are used to add or enhance your character's abilities. Each adventure class has three trees of alternate advancement to invest in.
In this guide, we will describe each of these character development paths.
The most obvious way to develop your character is to earn levels in his class. You gain levels by filling your experience bar with experience points. There are several ways to earn experience points in EQ2:
- By killing a non-trivial creature
- By exploring a new location for the first time
- By completing a quest
Your Experience Bar shows your progress through each level. The yellow bar shows your overall progress toward 100%. The lower blue bar is like a "magnifying glass", showing your progress through each 10% of the level. This magnified view is mainly useful at later levels, when experience accumulates more slowly.
Each time you fill another 10% experience toward your next level, you get a perk, as your health and power are instantly regenerated.
Experience required to reach a level:
|Level||Experience per level||Cumulative Experience|
|Level 90+ unlocks with 280AA|
Tradeskill Experience Edit
In the previous section, we described adventure experience. There is also tradeskill experience. Your character has a second experience bar for tradeskill experience, which earns levels in his tradeskill. You can see your tradeskill experience bar by right-clicking the experience bar and choosing it from the pop-up menu.
You earn tradeskill experience by crafting items. See the Taking Up a Tradeskill section below for details.
Alternate Advancement Edit
Starting at level 10, you'll earn a third type of experience: alternate advancement (AA) experience. At this point, you'll have three experience bars. You can see your AA Experience bar in your Skills Window (press [L] to open it). This experience bar goes toward earning Alternate Advancement Points, which you use to customize your character. See the Alternate Advancement section below for details.
When your character is well-rested, he earns twice as many experience points from every victory in combat. (There is also vitality for tradeskills.)
Each time you get double experience from vitality, you consume a bit of vitality. If you play for long periods of time, you may run out of vitality, at which point you'll stop earning double experience. How do you regain vitality that you've "burned"? Simple - it regenerates about 0.5% every hour, whether you're logged on or not. It takes about 1 week of real time to accumulate 100% vitality (if you started with none).
There's a little yellow arrow on your experience bar, which shows you the point on the bar at which your vitality will run out. If you have lots of vitality, then the arrow is probably at the end of the XP bar. Point your mouse at this arrow to see a tooltip about your vitality.
When you die, you incur experience debt. This debt shows up on your screen as a small amount of red on your XP bar. While you have debt, your combat victories will only give you half as much experience as usual. Debt will evaporate over a period of hours if you were to wait, but you can repay it immediately by killing a handful of monsters. You may also use a Wand of Forgiveness, but these are a one off /claim item with only three charges.
Disabling Experience Gain Edit
You can choose to disable experience gain. To do so, right-click the experience bar and choose one of the "Disable Combat Experience" options.
Why would you want to do this? Well, you might be working on a dungeon or a series of quests, and you don't want to outlevel them before you're finished. Or maybe you want to accumulate more Achievement Points (see below) before you move on to your next level. Each person has their own reasons why they might want to slow down their character's progression. For some players, it doesn't make sense.
One popular way of playing EQ2 is to disable combat experience, so that character advancement comes purely through completing quests. Doing this will double or triple how long it takes for you to complete each level, and will allow you to complete nearly every quest in Norrath at the intended level on a single character. This is more commonly done at the lower levels, before level 50.
Alternate Advancement Edit
Alternate Advancements are the principle way of customizing your character. You'll begin earning Alternate Advancement Experience at level 10. Each time you fill up your Alternate Advancement Experience bar, you'll earn a point. You'll spend these points to learn special abilities and powers that specialize your character. These abilities are often called "AAs", which is shorthand for "Alternate Advancements" or "Alternate Advancement abilities".
You earn Alternate Advancement Experience by:
- Completing quests. Generally quests that are level 10 or higher give alternate advancement experience. If it's repeatable, then you get alternate advancement experience the first time only. To maximize alternate advancement experience gain from quests, only turn in a quest when it becomes the same level as your character, or lower. Turning in quests higher in level than your character will result in an award of less alternate advancement experience. Some quests do not give achievement experience.
- Defeating notorious enemies. The first time you kill any "named" monster that cons green or higher to you, you'll earn alternate advancement experience.
- Acquiring rare treasure. The first time you loot any type of item that says "treasure" in its description, you'll earn alternate experience.
- Exploring new places. Whenever you discover a new location and get Discovery Experience for it, you'll also earn alternate experience.
- Conversion from adventure experience. After you reach the maximum adventuring level, all of the adventure experience that you earn will be converted into Alternate Advancement Experience as well. You can also use the Alternate Advancement Slider to contribute a portion of your adventuring experience, from 0 to 100%, before hitting the maximum level.
- Completing collection quests. Some collection quests do not award alternate advancement experience.
Unlike some other games, you do not earn Alternate Advancement Points automatically each time you level. The more you focus on the above activities, the faster you'll earn Alternate Advancement Points.
Alternate Advancements are very significant to the performance and play style of your character. Many players are strongly motivated to do activities that earn Alternate Advancement Experience. If you spend a lot of your time questing, you'll typically earn at least one Alternate Advancement Point per level.
|Tip: If you have a Free or Silver membership, then your Alternate Advancement Slider is locked at 50/50. You will require an upgrade to Gold membership in order to gain the freedom to set the slider to other ratios.|
Your Alternate Advancement Trees Edit
Press L, or choose Alternate Advancement from the EQII Menu, to open the Alternate Advancement window. The first tab, called "Character Development", is where your Racial Traditions are listed; these are described later in this guide. The last three tabs contain your Alternate Advancement trees. Here you can browse the Alternate Advancements and spend the points that you earn.
You have three Alternate Advancement Trees that you can spend points on: a "Class" tree, a "Subclass" tree, and a "Shadows" tree.
- The "Class" Tree typically grants new abilities and enhances your attributes, and is a good place to spend your first several points. Each branch of the Class tree focuses on a certain style of gameplay, and may change the way you approach combat. Two subclasses always share the same Class tree; for example, the Category:Warden and Category:Fury subclasses are both the Druid class and share the druid Class tree.
- The "Subclass" Tree typically enhances your spells and combat arts, and is a good place to spend points after you have earned a branch of the Subclass tree. Points spent in the Subclass tree will gradually improve your character's overall performance.
- The "Shadows" Tree starts off with general benefits, and provides more specific benefits to your class as you invest further in it. Each section of this tree is unlocked by first spending points in the Class and Subclass trees. Because of this, the Shadows tree is a focus for high-level characters.
Spending Alternate Advancement Points Edit
Each time you earn a new Alternate Advancement Point, just click on an available Alternate Advancement in the tree to learn it (or to improve an existing one). If it's an activated ability, then you'll get a new icon in your Knowledge Book, on the Abilities page. Drag this new icon to your hotkey bar, then try it out!
The Alternate Advancement Trees show you the order of prerequisites for each ability. You must start at the top of the tree and 'buy' your way down the tree. When you've spent enough points on one ability, the next ability in the 'tree branch' will be unlocked. It takes about 20 points to unlock the best ability at the end of each 'branch'.
You can spend your achievement points in all three Alternate Advancement trees with a maximum of 50 points in each, until you reach level 70. At adventure level 71 the cap for each tree is raised to 70 (except for the Shadows tree which is limited to 60 points). The maximum number of points you can earn is now 250, with 100 spent points maximum each for the Class and Subclass trees and 70 spent points maximum for the Shadows tree, since the inclusion of the Sentinels' Fate expansion on February 21st 2010.
Changing your Mind Edit
Your choices of Alternate Advancements are only semi-permanent. In your home city, you can visit an Advancement Counsel NPC to reset an entire Alternate Advancement tree and spend your points differently. The first respec (per tree) costs 10g; after that, 1p and 10p (though never higher than ten platinum). The cost resets after 30 days without a respec for a particular tree. You can also receive Class and Subclass respec cards, available through the Achievement Counsel NPCs. You can also use AA Mirrors, available through the commission crafting system to swap between a two different specs.
Racial Traditions Edit
- Main Article: Traditions
Every race in EQ2 has two starting Innate Abilities, and gets to choose a Racial Tradition every 10th level. You can view and select your Racial Traditions on the first tab of the Achievements window (press L or select Achievements from the EQII Menu). The Racial Traditions system is fairly well described in the window itself in-game.
Innate Abilities Edit
Every race in EQ2 starts with two or three special Innate Abilities. These are shown in the Character Development tab in your Achievements window (press L or select Achievements from the EQII Menu). Some innate abilities are passive, while others are activated. If your race has an activated innate ability, then a hotkey was probably created automatically on your hotkey bar when your character was created. Otherwise, you'll find the activated ability in your Knowledge Book.
Choosing Traditions Edit
Every 10th level (starting at level 10), you'll get to choose a new Racial Tradition. Your race has a unique list of ten Traditions to choose from. Once you reach level 80, you'll have enabled eight of them.
- Some racial traditions are activated, and have a cooldown timer. These will be found in your Knowledge Book, in the Abilities section, and can be placed on your hotkey bar.
- Some racial traditions are passive effects that are always in effect. These do not have hotkeys or effect icons.
- Most races have at least one racial tradition that enhances a specific Tradeskill.
Changing Your Mind Edit
As with Alternate Advancement, your choices of Racial Traditions are only semi-permanent. In your home city, any Advancement Counsel NPC can reset your Racial Traditions.
Taking Up a Tradeskill Edit
- Main Article: Taking up a Tradeskill
Your character actually has two classes: an Adventure class and a Tradeskill class. Your Tradeskill class has its own experience bar, and earns its own levels. You even have a separate section in your Knowledge Book for Tradeskill abilities.
Initially, you are a generic Artisan. If you choose to develop your tradeskill, then you'll choose a Tradeskill Class later, as you rise in levels.
For more details, see the Taking up a Tradeskill User Guide.
Further Development Edit
For more ways to develop your character, see the Goals Guide.
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