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Basics of Armor

Updated Thu, May 13, 2010 by Ethec

by Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle Updates by: Tony "RadarX" Jones and Savanja

As much fun as it would be for spectators, battling naked in EverQuest II isn't really an option so at some point we all have to gear up our characters. One of the greatest benefits and downfalls of veteran games is that there are a lot of armor options and not much guidance as to what your class should wear. Sure you can check the tags on every chest piece in game to see what class it's labeled for, but just because you can wear it, doesn't mean you should.

Do you have armor advice that has never failed you? Be sure to stop by our forums to share!

Armor Decisions Leaving You in Tiers?

You'll hear veteran players describe "tiers" of armor... tier 1, T1 all the way up to tier 10 or T10. It's simply an unofficial way to describe a level range in which armor or jewelry is best equipped, or adventuring zones attempted, etc. The player-made tier system isn't very confusing if you're one of those people who (unlike me) can easily understand why the 1800s were considered the 19th century. What I mean by this: tier 1 refers to levels 1 through 9, tier 2 is level 10-19, and so on.

Describing Armor by Level Range

Tiers
Level Ranges
Tier 1

Levels 1 -9

Tier 2
Levels 10 -19
Tier 3
Levels 20 - 29
Tier 4
Levels 30 - 39
Tier 5
Levels 40 - 49
Tier 6
Levels 50 - 59
Tier 7
Levels 60 - 69
Tier 8
Levels 70-79
Tier 9
Levels 80 - 89
Tier 10
Level 90

Tiers are the unofficial way to describe the suitability of a piece of armor level-wise. class-wise, armor's adequacy for you is described in terms of material. While there's exceptions to every rule (e.g. - most fighters can wear plate, but monks are stuck with cloth or leather armor), I've tried to break down the armor types by class. As a rule of thumb, always go with the best armor you can wear unless great stats justify a lesser choice.

Describing Armor by Type or Class

Armor Type
Used to be called...
For classes...
Damage Absorption Factor
Cloth Armor
("Very Light" Armor)

All mages.

Negligible Mitigation
Leather Armor
("Light" Armor)
Some priests (druids) and some fighters (brawlers).
Some Mitigation
Chain Armor
("Medium" Armor)
All scouts and some priests (shaman).
More Mitigation
Plate Armor
("Heavy" Armor)
Most fighters and some priests (clerics).
Most Mitigation

A final way of describing armor is by its rarity. Confusingly termed "tiers" by EQ2 devs since launch (there used to be 9 "tiers" that described rarity, believe it or not), the following adjectives are used in-game to describe how easy it is to find or craft armor and other equipment:

Describing Armor by Rarity

  • Common: Generally low quality non-stat armor often dropped from mob kills. Mostly sold to vendors and of little use.
  • Handcrafted: Player-crafted items, usually from common components, or low-quality corpse loot.
  • Treasured: Dropped from mobs or obtained through questing. Some pieces might be worthwhile.
  • Legendary: Mob drops or quested, often decent quality gear worth keeping.
  • Mastercrafted: Better quality crafted items with nice stats.
  • Fabled: Rare items that are obtained through epic quests or epic raid kills.
  • Mythical: These items are few and far between. Mythical items are coveted by even the most experienced adventurers.

Rarity will help you decide what kind of armor you will want for the type of adventuring that you do. In general, Fabled and Mythical gear is only available to raiding players so the average person shouldn't feel like they need to be decked out in Fabled gear. Legendary is suitable for group orientated players while soloers will likely use a combo of quested Legendary, dropped or quested Treasured, and purchased Mastercrafted gear. Always wear the best armor you can obtain or afford and adventuring will go a lot smoother for you.

Enemy of the Stats

Stats are your master in EQ2. No matter how great your mitigation or avoidance is, if your stats don't reflect what you wish to achieve in game you are pretty much dead in the water. Stats have changed over the years, and while theories on stat stacking come and go, there are some very obvious rules that nearly everyone will want to follow.

What's your primary attribute? You can get a detailed explanation of the revamped stats system here. These primary attributes determine how much damage you deal and secondary stats will add to how much you can avoid or mitigate. In a choice between the two you'll want to focus on your damage first and mitigation/avoidance second. There really aren't many instances when doing less damage is a good thing.

Attribute

Level Ranges

INT

All mages, crit mit for priests

WIS

All priests, avoidance for mages

AGI

All scouts, avoidance and crit mit for fighters

STR

Fighters

STA

Health increase for fighters, priests, and scouts, spell resist for mages

It's important to pay attention to stats when you're choosing armor. Itemization in game has not been completed to reflect the latest changes to stats so keep in mind that just because it says it is usable by your class, if the stats of the piece don't mirror the primary stats above for your class, it will still be a poor choice. Never wear armor without stats unless you are left with no other options. Once you've gotten past the early levels though, you should have enough armor options that wearing sub-par equipment

Refuse... Resist!

So far we've only been talking about absorbing and avoiding physical damage. In fact, there's many different types of damage in the game besides physical (or "base") damage:

  • Arcane Damage

  • Elemental Damage

  • Noxious Damage

  • Physical Damage

Being able to resist all these types of damage would be nice, but it is also unrealistic. Since it is unlikely you will always be able to determine what type of damage your targets will do, and switch up gear to combat against it, it's better to rely on potions and the like rather than trying to gear to suit a specific resist. This isn't as true for raiders however, and it is often handy to have items on hand that will boost your resist against a specific kind of damage since epic mobs tend to be brutally heavy on one type.

Learning to Adore Adornments

Adornments are little items that can be added to your armor and weapon pieces to make them even better. These add stats and attributes above and beyond what you can get with non-adorned armor alone. You can make an okay piece of armor good or make a great piece even better! The great thing is you are in control of what's being added so you can build your stats to suit your own needs.

Once attached to an item, an adornment cannot be separated again however, you can replace the adornment as often as you'd like if you find something better. You can generally find these on the broker as they are mostly player crafted and they come in tiers of rarity much like armor does. You may choose between Treasured, Legendary, and Fabled adornments which determines the level of benefit you will receive from your adornment.

Obtaining the Dream

Getting great armor is a lot of work but it is also part of the enjoyable progression of the game. If you've ever worked your butt off trying to complete a difficult quest or spent time camping a named for a rare drop then you know how rewarding it can be to finally get the single most magical piece of gear you've been working for. Gear comes from various places and often each tier or expansion will have a new and unique way in which to earn good armor.

Tiers 1 and 2 - Starting from the beginning, the best way to equip your character is through questing. Since early levels tend to go by fairly quickly don't waste coin or time trying to hunt down perfect pieces and instead just use what you have access to.

Tiers 3 and 4 - This is where you start paying a bit more attention. The level 20 armor quests, while a little outdated, can get you by through that entire tier. This is a good time to utilized Mastercrafted armor as there are quit a few good sets of crafted armor at around level 40. You can also find quested sets in Zek, and the Echoes of Faydwer zones and dungeons.

Tiers 5 and 6 - This is when armoring starts getting good. There are sets that drop in the dungeons of these tiers that you'll want to keep an eye out for. You'll also find a decent solo gear set in Sinking Sands from the beetleherder found in the pass.

Tier 7 - This tier has a lot of sets that drop in dungeons, some you can get the whole set from a single dungeon (through multiple runs), but the best sets are divided up amongst the Echoes of Faydwer dungeons. These sets not only have great stats but they also afford bonuses when you acquire multiple pieces. Each zone will drop a class piece. Which class it will drop for is random and depends on which classes are in your group. These are the zones that will drop them, and which piece you will find:

Gloves - King Caertex in Kaladim
Legs - Sage V'Ncenzi in Mistmoore Castle
Forearms - Count Valdoon Kel'Novar in Crypt of Valdoon
Feet - Blight from Obelisk of Blight
Shoulders - Head Butler Z'ral in Mistmoore Catacombs
Head - Priest of Fear in Estate of Unrest
Chest - Garanel Rucksif, in Estate of Unrest

Also this tier, raiders will want to earn their shard sets:

So you've made it to the high end raiding areas. These zones have a chance to drop armor blanks specifically designed for each class. The only complete list I could find was thanks to the wonderful EQ2 Traders site, so I've done my best to replicate it here. You will take this blank, and the stones listed to Keortor Talyse in Solusek's Eye.

Fighter Classes - appropriate Relic piece plus:
  • Chest: 3 Pristine Moonstones
  • Legs: 3 Exquisite Emeralds
  • Shoulders: 3 Exquisite Malachites
  • Forearms: 3 Exquisite Onyx
  • Head: 3 Exquisite Opals
  • Hands: 3 Exquisite Peridots
  • Feet: 3 Exquisite Pearls
Scout Classes - appropriate Relic piece plus:
  • Chest: 3 Pristine Ruby
  • Legs: 3 Flawless Azurite
  • Shoulders: 3 Flawless Rose Quartz
  • Forearms: 3 Flawless Turquoise
  • Head: 3 Flawless Amber
  • Hands: Flawless Red Beryl
  • Feet: 3 Flawless Jade
Mage Classes - appropriate Relic Silk piece plus:
  • Chest Piece - 3 Pristine Chrysoberyls
  • Legs - 3 Immaculate Bloodstones
  • Shoulders - 3 Immaculate Nephrites
  • Forearms - 3 Immaculate Gold Beryls
  • Head - 3 Immaculate Sapphires
  • Hands - 3 Immaculate Garnets
  • Feet - 3 Immaculate Amethysts
Priest Classes - appropriate Relic piece plus:
  • Chest: 3 Pristine Obsidians
  • Legs: Refined Black Pearls
  • Shoulders: 3 Refined Adamantines
  • Forearms: 3 Refined Quartz
  • Head: 3 Refined Aquamarines
  • Hands: 3 Refined Topaz
  • Feet: 3 Refined Rubies

Tier 8 - Along with the typical dungeon drops and questing rewards (which are pretty good in the Shadow Odyssey zones) shard armor ends up being the star of this tier. Whether you are a solo player, a steady dungeon runner, or a raider, there is a shard set that you can earn and if you happen to be the determined type, you can earn a full set of Fabled gear without ever having to set foot in a raid zone.  You'll find quests and zones that award shards in the Shadow Odyssey zones, the Commonlands, and Lavastorm.

Tier 9 - With shards being a big hit amongst players, the Sentinel's Fate expansion introduced something very similar called Mark of Manor. You earn these in the same way you earn shards in Tier 8, via quests and dungeon finds and purchase the armor from specified NPCs. More details can be found regarding the shard armor, quests, and NPC locations in a separate Tier 8 and Tier 9 guide. Tier 9 also has a lot for more casual players. You can gain faction and utilize faction merchants that will sell moderately useful armor items and many of the quests award Treasured and Legendary pieces that have decent stats. These make good interim pieces while you earn those marks to obtain better items at level 90.

Battleground Fans

For those who enjoy a little bit of player on player action there is some good news for you as well. As of GU56, Battlegrounds will be available from level 30 so players will be able to earn tokens through Battleground gameplay to purchase armor. In addition, you can find crafted Battleground armor (check the broker!) that gives PvP bonuses for the wearer. There will be sets of armor for each tier so, if you want, you can gear this way every tier and all armor earned through the Battlegrounds is usable outside the Battlegrounds as well.

Repair Soon and Repair Often

It's extremely important to keep your equipment in good repair. You can do so by visiting a mender; there are many located throughout the world, but you can stop by the Armor shop in the northwest portion of East Freeport, a building in the northeast part of Qeynos harbor, or Nektulos Forest / Thundering Steppes docks to find your friendly neighborhood armorer. You don't want to get resurrected naked because your armor's worn to pieces, now do you? Also, while expensive, a good repair kit can save the day in a long raid, but currently armor repair kits will only restore your armor to 40% so don't use them until you really need to.

Examining Your Way to Better Armor

If nothing else, take some time and go to a heavily trafficked area (like Qeynos Harbor or East Freeport) and do some people watching. Find adventurers that play your class and right click -> examine them to see what they're wearing. They won't know you're checking them out; we'll make an equipment voyeur out of you yet! Also, watch the channels for your level, and be sure to check out the EverQuest II Forums.

Even if they're much higher in level than you, it'll give you a pretty good idea what to work toward in the future.


Once again , let's hear your questions, suggestions, insights, and whatnot: post in our forums and let's discuss! Share what you know or want to know for everyone to enjoy!

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