Updated Wed, Aug 25, 2010 by Savanja
You're gaining achievement points, but you aren't sure how and you don't quite know what to do with them! Believe me, I know how that goes, I was just about afraid to spend mine when they first were added in game via the Kingdom of Sky expansion, so they piled up and went ignored for a long while.
I can't tell you exactly how to spend your points without some major research, something that is on the horizons as part of the individual class guides, but I can give you the basics of what they are and how they work! This will make things a lot easier for those of you that are new to the whole achievements thing.
Class achievement points were first added with the Kingdom of sky expansion, the sub-class tree was later added with Echoes of Faydwer, and the Shadows tree was added with The Shadow Odyssey. For those that are new to the game, EQ2 used to work on a archetype system which was mostly done away with, but each sub-class still has a class. An example of this is the sub-classes of Monk and Bruiser both belong to the Brawler class, the Shadowknight and Paladin both belong to the Crusader class. If you own both expansions, you will see both the class and sub-class trees of achievement abilities in your achievements window.
These abilities are there for you to further customize your character. The points will essentially boost various stats and abilities that will be useful in your everyday play, so it is important for good end-game play to have these! There are many top end guilds that won't recruit players than don't have all 250 of their APs earned and assigned.
There are caps on how many APs you can earn. You can have 160 until level 70, 200 points until level 80, and 250 total at the level cap of 90.
You will find your achievement trees on your main menu under "Alternate Advancements" once your character has dinged level 10 (assuming you have the expansions). You may spend your point as you earn them, or save them up and spend them all at once. Either way, I strongly suggest that you do your research and find out which lines would most benefit your sub-class, class, and playing style. The best way of doing this is asking around the Ten Ton Hammer forum or the SOE official forums. People are always happy to share experiences!
Now that you know where they came from, how does one earn them?
Once you hit top level, adventuring experience is converted into achievement experience, which still give those of us at level cap something to strive for. Before that though you will have to work a bit harder for them. Non-repeated quests, item and location discoveries, heroic named mob kills, and gaining an adventure level are all some of the ways that you will gain achievement experience. As a soloer, questing is your best course of earning the APs. For groupers, hitting those named mobs as often as possible, anytime you go dungeon crawling, will help you earn them faster. You can also scale how much adventure experience versus achievement experience you gain. To do this go to your main EQ2 menu, choose Alternate Advancements then use the slider to determine how much of your adventure experience to convert into achievement experience. This is particularly helpful for those who wish to build their achievement experience and are less concerned about gaining adventure levels.
Alternate Advancement Shadows Tree
Once you have them, you need to spend them. How you spend them is, I believe, highly personal. There is great advice out there for the raider, the grouper, and the soloer, and everyone will have an opinion. Study the abilities, know what your stats do for your class, and note what abilities you use the most often. Knowing your class and sub-class is the best way to know what you would benefit from!
To actually spend the points, open up the achievement tree window and click on the starting abilities. Spending in your class and sub-class trees are a bit different. Your sub-class tree (monk, illusionist, assassin, etc) is fairly straight forward. You will see various abilities that you have and adding points to those abilities will enhance the entire spell/CA line. You may hover over the ability to see how a point will enhance it. More points in any ability gives more benefits to that line! Each ability can take a maximum of 5 points, and you must spend points in the previous ability (noted by the lines going from one ability to the next, it turns green when the following ability is unlocked) in order to progress down the tree.
The class (brawler, enchanter, predator, etc) achievements are a bit more complicated and up for far more debate on how to spend points. The trees are arranged by skill; Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wisdom, and Intelligence. In order to spend any points in any give tree, you first need to gain your starter ability. Click on it to place one point and this will make all the trees available for point spending. To progress down the tree, you must spend 4 points in the previous ability, however, to gain the first final ability you need to have spent a total of 22 points in the entire line, to get the 2nd final ability you will need 70 points in each line.
If you have enough points, you may work on more than one line, and you may not need to complete a line to get the benefits that you want.
After you have spent your points, there occasionally comes a time when you may rethink your choices and want to change them. Everyone gets a free respec, which you will find on your achievements window. After that, you might have to pay for them! It gets more costly the more times you respec, so choose wisely. The following NPCs can handle your respec'ing needs:
South Qeynos Mage Tower. Through the red portal, speak with the Achievement Counselor, Wynia Vethe.
North Freeport Academy of Arcane Science. Elevator to the lower level, speak with the Achievement Counselor, Nexa L'Dur.
Western Neriak, in the building next to the horse merchant. Speak with the Achievement Counselor, Tria L'Belk.
Order of Arcane in Kelethin. Speak with the Achievement Counselor, Aelia Naeni.
You don't have to be stuck with just one spec of achievements though. If you are a level 75 crafter or know one, you can create an house item called "Mirror of Reflected Achievements" which will store one achievement spec. This allows you to switch between 2 sets of achievements to suit however you happen to play.
I feel as though research is always important, and even when you cannot always get in game to check out your achievement ability choices, we still have available the AP trees with in game descriptions. We now have all of the class and sub-class trees, so please check 'em out.
Alternate Advancements by class and sub class:
Finding the perfect spec is an art form, but we have done a little (or a lot) of research to find great specs for you to make your own or to tweak as needed. Want to play with various specs or share your own? Check out my favorite AA calculator!
Good luck and enjoy!
If you have any questions, comments, or corrections for this guide, please contact Savanja.