EverQuest II Extended Equipment Upgrade Guide

EverQuest II Extended Equipment Upgrade Guide by Didi

How to Dress for Success  
In the real world, what you wear has very little effect on what you can do. Wear a tuxedo or wear a bathing suit, you can still pick up a box or dance like a disco queen. Your strength, agility, and other attributes are qualities that you yourself possess, your clothes don’t affect that.

In the world of Norrath, however, your actual person possesses very few powers. Naked, you are far less powerful than you are dressed. Wearing the right clothes makes the difference between being able to carry 6 100-weight strong-boxes, and not being able to carry a single one. It makes the difference between life, and death.

In EQ2, therefore, what you wear is of critical importance and should be something you seek to improve at all opportunities.

This guide is intended to give an overview of what all the numbers do for you, and to guide you to equipping yourself properly up to your 50s or so. Once you enter the raiding scene the rules become more complex as resists become increasingly important, I won’t be going into resists at all as this is intended to be an introduction and general overview. This guide also does not cover upgrading spells.  For an introduction to resists, EverQuest II Extended Resists Guide.

The Basics
Content in EQ2 is divided into tiers. Each tier is 10 levels. Zone content aligns to tiers, and both crafting and adventuring work on the same tier system. A Tier 2 zone contains Tier 2 monsters appropriate for Tier 2 adventurers to fight and which may drop Tier 2 equipment and books. A Tier 2 zone contains Tier 2 harvests used by Tier 2 crafters to make Tier 2 equipment for the adventurers to use while eating and drinking their Tier 2 food and drink. You get the picture.

Tier 1 = 0-9 (newbie zones around Qeynos/Freeport such as Peat Bog, The Graveyard, and east Greater Faydark)
Tier 2 = 10-19 (Antonica and Commonlands, Blackburrow and Wailing Caves, west Greater Faydark)
Tier 3 = 20-29 (Thundering Steppes, Butcherblock, and Nektulos Forest, etc)
Tier 4 = 30-39 (Enchanted Lands, Zek, Runnyeye, east Steamfont)
Tier 5 = 40-49 (Feerrott, Lavastorm, Everfrost, Cazic Thule, west Steamfont)
Tier 6 = 50-59 (Sinking Sands and other Desert of Flames zones, Lesser Faydark)
Tier 7 = 60-69 (Tenebrous Tangle and other Kingdom of Sky zones, Loping Plains)

(I haven’t included all the dungeons, obviously, as the list would be far too long. But I’m sure you get the idea.)

What do the numbers do?
Increasing your AGILITY improves your avoidance, which is your chance to avoid taking damage when something hits you. This is particularly important for monks/bruisers, who rely on not getting hit to survive when tanking. However, for any class, not getting hit is a Good Thing, so a better chance to not get hit is always nice.

Increasing your INTELLIGENCE increases the damage that your spells do. This doesn’t affect most fighters at all. The exception here is crusaders, who do get damage spells and so will find their damage spells do more damage the higher their INT is. For mages, whose primary mode of attack is damage spells, this is the single most important attribute they can have. INT also increases the damage that bard songs and poison do (poison counts as a spell) and can affect weapon procs for all classes.

Increasing STRENGTH increases the amount of melee damage that you do with your weapons. It also affects how much weight you can carry. There is a significant difference between the amount of melee damage a weak adventurer and a strong adventurer will do with the same weapon. The stronger you are, the nastier the damage your weapon will do. If you are a class that relies on doing melee damage, this is one of your most important stats.

Increasing your STAMINA will increase the number of hit points you have. Worth noting however, that equipment with +health adds hit points too. When comparing two pieces of armour with the same mitigation, if one has +2 STA and the other has +100 health, the second one is clearly the better choice, since that’s far more health than an increase of two stamina would give you. Stamina is another of those stats that’s generally good for everyone to have, but tank types will find it the most important.

Increasing your WISDOM increases your resistance to spell damage – which means you have a higher chance of enemy spells not hitting you. This is a Good Thing for everybody in general.
Increasing your AVOIDANCE makes you harder to hit. In addition to the affect of agility, mentioned above, the lighter the armour you wear, the better your avoidance is. So plate armour makes your avoidance terrible, chain so-so, leather pretty good, cloth is great. Naked would be best of all, of course, but then you need to consider what happens in the inevitable case when your avoidance fails and you do get hit.

Increasing your MITIGATION affects the amount of damage that you can absorb. This is critical for warrior/crusader types, and a good thing for everybody else too. If a monster swings for 1000 points of damage, the higher your mitigation is, the less of that damage will actually get through and decrease your health points. Tanking, plate-wearing types should always be looking for the highest possible mitigation on their armour. Warriors/crusaders who are normally the tank in a group should normally use a one-hand weapon and a shield, in order to maximize their defensive ability. (Brawler types cannot use shields.)

You can check the effects of all the stats above by watching how your stats change as you equip and unequip an item of armour. Mages can inspect a nuke spell and note its maximum damage, then add some equipment with more INT, and inspect it again, and see a visible numerical difference.

What are “primary stats”? 
Open up your persona window (P) and hover your mouse over your stats. You’ll get a little tooltip pop up that will give you a short description of the stats listed above, but you’ll also notice that one of them (maybe two, for crusaders and bards) will say that it “increases your maximum power”. This is what is known as your primary attribute, or primary stat. In other words, the more of this stat you have, the bigger your power pool will be. This makes them very important for you to work on increasing.

Fighters – STRENGTH
A fighter’s primary stat is strength (exception: paladins use both STR and WIS, in a ratio of 75% STR to 25% WIS, and shadow knights use both STR and INT, I believe in the same ratio). The more STR a fighter has the more power he has and the more melee damage he does too. So, this is definitely something fighters should be looking for on their gear. A plate-wearing fighter who spends most of his time tanking, however, should still be focusing on mitigation as the #1 most important feature of his gear. As a fighter, doing damage is a bonus, but taking damage is your primary and most important role.

Mages have it easy when it comes to choosing equipment, really. Mage rule of thumb: If it doesn’t have INT on it, you don’t wear it. Since INT both increases their power pool and makes their spells zap harder, there is no attribute more important than INT. The only time a mage might consider wearing something without INT is if it has a particularly nice other effect (flowing thought, for example, or a particularly nice clicky or proc effect), or if their INT has reached the cap beyond which adding more doesn’t make any difference.

Priests – WISDOM
Priests get more power the more wisdom they have. More power = more heals before they run out, so obviously wisdom is an extremely valuable stat for priests. Priests who solo a lot might look at other stats, furys in particular will find their nukes hit harder if they add more INT, and all priests are helped by adding defensive stats such as STA and AGI that will help them survive if they get attacked.  NOTE: more wisdom does NOT lead to bigger heals.  This is a common misconception.  The maximum heal amount of a spell does not increase, ever.  All wisdom does for a healing class is give them a bigger power pool, which means MORE heals, not bigger ones.

Scouts’ primary stat is agility.  Dirges and troubadours use both AGI and INT, and the other scout classes (Assassins, Rangers, Brigands, and Swashbucklers) now gain some of their power pool from strength as well as agility as of Game Update 29. The more AGI a scout has, the more power he has and the better he’s able to avoid damage too. This is important for scouts, but since scouts rely on melee damage, strength is still extremely important for them also. Depending on the scout’s mode of play, scouts may choose to maximize their mitigation with chainmail, or their avoidance with leather armour. This is a choice each scout will need to make based on his or her play style, overall the majority seem to favour chain.

Stat Caps

Stats are capped as you level up. The cap is the value beyond which you don’t get any further benefit from increasing that stat, no matter how much bigger the number gets. Once you reach this cap with a stat, there is little point in adding more; instead, focus on raising some other stats instead. (This is why, if you inspect a raiding healer, for example, you’ll often see his or her gear is not as strongly wisdom-focused as you would expect, and may in fact be rather stamina-oriented.)

Stat cap = 15 x (your level) + 20, however stat benefits are now on a diminishing returns curve, meaning as your value in a particular stat gets very high, you see less and less difference as you add more.

So level 20 stat cap is 320, and level 70 stat cap = 1070. You’re highly unlikely to even come close to these stat caps until you’re in tier 7, so not something to worry hugely about at lower ranks.

In addition the melee haste and dps mods can be increased up to a rating of  200.

In-combat mana and hp regen is capped at (your lvl) x 1.5 (so, 90/tick for a level 60 character).  Note: I don’t *think* this changed with the game update 29 combat changes but haven’t found a clear confirmation.
Maximum mitigation/resistance numbers for your current level: Level * 150

How the numbers work
Attack cycle for a hypothetical berserker tank called Jonack:

Weapon Choice
Your weapon choice depends a lot on your class. For classes that don’t heavily rely on melee damage (ie, mages and priests) the choice is a bit less important and should be based on two things:

1. the best stat combination you can get; and
2. whether you’re working on any Achievement lines that require a certain type of weapon or range item equipped.

If you’re not sure on this or haven’t chosen an achievement line yet, open your Skills window (L) and look at the options on your Achievement tab, to see what requirements there might be.

If you’re a scout or fighter type, you have a few more things to consider regarding your weapon choice. You’ll still want to consider the two points above, but in addition, the weapon’s damage rating becomes much more important to you (higher numbers = better). You’ll need to choose between dual wielding two weapons, one-handed weapon + shield (a popular choice for tanks, since the shield increases their defense) or a two-handed weapon. Considerations such as the target you’re attacking may also affect what you choose to wield – for example if you were fighting something with a nasty damage shield, a two-handed weapon might be better than two dual wield weapons, because you hit only half as many times and will therefore take less damage.

When comparing the damage ratings to see if two dual wield weapons will be better than one two-handed weapon, add the ratings of the dual wield weapons together and compare that number to the damage rating on the two-handed weapon. In actuality the damage of the dual wield weapons will be slightly less than the sum of them put together, but that’s a quick and rough comparison. You can also use the in-game command /weaponstats to see the actual damage you will do with the weapons you have equipped, these may be slightly different than the base stats displayed when you examine the weapon because your stats may affect it (hopefully in a positive way).

For further advice from experts, check your class discussion forum.  And for a more detailed discussion of weapon procs and other melee mechanics, check the Game Update 29 notes and the links therein.

What outfit would be complete without some matching accessories? This is true in Norrath as well as outside! You wouldn’t leave your house without your wallet, credit cards, keys, glasses, and any other essentials of life that you might need while you’re out. Likewise, you shouldn’t consider leaving your home in Norrath without the kind of useful items that you might need while you’re out.
Your specific needs will vary depending on your class, but here is a list of strongly suggested items to check before you leave home:

  • invisibility totems (totem of the chameleon or totem of the jaguar) (woodworker made) – you need to be about level 30 to use these. *MUST-HAVE item once you can use them, if you can’t self-invis*
  • a stack of food and drink of the appropriate level: the appropriate level is whatever your adventure level is, rounded up to the nearest 10. So if you’re level 30-39, you should be using food/drink rated for level 40 — crafted food, not the inferior vendor sold stuff if you can afford it. *Must-have item!*
  • enough coin to mend your armour. *Must-have item!*
  • any reagents that you may need for spells (e.g. odyssey stones for clerics). *Must-have item!*
  • totem of the otter, or fish bone earring, if your class doesn’t have underwater breathing buffs.
  • healing potions (alchemist made).
  • power regen potions (alchemist made).
  • totem of power/health regen, depending on your class’s needs (woodworker made).
  • ranged items (arrows, shurikens, etc.) if your class uses them.
  • poisons if your class uses them.
  • rosewood patch kit (if you’re level 60+ and going raiding).
  • any other utility items you may have, such as Tarton’s Wheel, clicky nuke items, etc.

In conclusion: Be Prepared!
If you’ve read this far, it’s time to look over on your inventory window in EQ2 and see how you measure up. Do all your equipment items do something valuable for you? Is there any that’s really not helping? Do you have any items more than 10 levels below your adventure level? Check you’re using all your equipment slots. Are you wasting your charm slots with potions or totems? A pair of hex dolls could be adding +18 or more to your stats, if you’re over level 10! Contact your local tailor for details.

Create some broker searches for your next tier’s armour/jewellery and save them, so that every time you pass a broker you can quickly load your saved searches and see if any interesting new items or bargains have come up.  Inspect others of your class, get ideas from their gear.

Harvest those rares, and keep your eye on broker prices so you can pick up bargains if you see a good one. Send them to the crafters in the guild to make you rare armour. Not sure what to do with those rares? Check this guide.

Understand what the stats are and what they do for your class.

Understand that you need to be prepared to replace your armour every 10 levels. And that you should never be wearing equipment rated more than 10 levels below you — with VERY few exceptions that are almost all heritage quests.

Equipment of a higher tier is almost always significantly better than equipment that you were able to wear from the lower tier. Therefore, as you are coming to the end of a tier, you should be starting to think about getting some new armour ready and waiting for when you hit that new level, be it 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60. It can take some time to assemble a new set of equipment, so don’t wait until you ding and THEN start thinking about it — be prepared, and you won’t have to spend your first few levels in a new tier running around in outdated equipment, performing under par.

This is particularly true for tanks. If you are normally the tank in your group, it is your primary responsibility to be able to tank as well as possible, and that means you should never settle for less than the best armour you can wear and afford. If you can’t afford the rare or legendary armour right away, at least buy a set of the common crafted armour when you reach your new tier, as the mitigation will be much better than the previous tier. Prices on this are so low at the moment, there’s absolutely no excuse not to pick up a set as a temporary measure while you work towards some rares.

But every class should be watching their armour, constantly looking for upgrades, constantly seeking to ensure they are wearing the best they can afford. And then you can be confident that you are playing your class as the best that you can be.

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