An alternative way to boost your chances? Try experience to make advances! -- Bonzz
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Alternate Advancement (AA) was introduced with the Shadows of Luclin expansion. They are also known as 'Ability Points,' which is the term you see in-game when you earn one. However, Players know them as Alternative Advancement Points aka AA's.
It has been generally added to, in one way or another, in every subsequent expansion. So much so, that the AA Window grew into (10) Tabs / Tiers. The original ten (10) Tiers were, in order: General, Archetype, Class, Planes of Power Advancement, Planes of Power Ability, Gates of Discord, Omens of War, Depths of Darkhollow, Veteran and The Serpent Spine.
In July 2007, a patch merged the (10) tiers into four (4) tiers, which actually made a lot of sense. After all, in the original tiers, there were lines of AA that were simply continuations of AA from previous tiers. For instance, all of the "Innate" AA were combined into just one category (from the Original General Tier and the Planes of Power Ability Tier)... and so on. In doing this, there were many changes made to include AA Names, AA requirements and so forth. There were also AA added, that were not there before.
The Secrets of Faydwer expansion further changed AA with a few more modifications (example, Lay On Hands became an AA rather than an innate ability). But the AA tinkering didn't end there. Over time AA's have been merged, removed (with AA's refunded), renamed and so forth... usually via a patch.
In most cases, the merger of AA's was logical and sensible. However, there have been some that were not well received by the player base, particularly when it affected class strategies, game play and abilities. Such as when certain AA's were combined, that were on separate timers, and were being used in conjunction with each other (Necromancer pulling ability took a significant hit). In other cases, some classes actually benefited from them, such as Paladins, who could not battle rez for 96%, were now able to do so.
THINGS TO KNOW
- First off, the possible amount (total number of AA Assigned) of AA's classes can earn, can vary significantly, class to class. A Pure Melee is not going to get the Magic, Spell Casting related AA's. A non-healer is not going to get the Heal-related AA's. A non-Gnome is not going to get the Tinkering AA's. A pure caster is not going to get Melee AA's. And so on. To develop any petty envy of AA's Expended totals, is just plain silliness. Instead, look at it another way... a Warrior will max out AA's a lot faster than a Shaman can.
- Alternate Advancement "Points" (AA) are "earned" by way of gaining in-game alternative advancement experience (just like Levels).
- AA XP is earned fully (or partially) in place of normal XP.
- You determine how much (what percentage) of your normal XP goes to AA by the settings (options) you choose. You can only set it in increments of ten (such as 10%, 20% and on up to 100%), using the in-game tool.
- However, there is also a typed command where you can set this XP to any percentage you want! The command is /alternateadv on XX (where XX = the percentage). So to set AA XP at 95%, you would type: /alternateadv on 95.
- AA Points can be used to "buy" special abilities, increased abilities and / or improved abilities at varying costs.
- Purchasing AA is done by simply highlighting the AA Ability you want, and clicking the "Train" Button (Or the "Buy All" button, to buy as many levels as you have AA to buy).
- Most AA has an automatic (“innate”) effect, meaning you merely have to buy it order to benefit from it.
- Other AA must be purposely activated. In these situations, you will be given the option to create a "Hot Key" (Hot Button) for that ability, so you can activate it when you want to (it works much like a spell or a discipline). Put this on one of your Hot Bars for easy access.
- In the early stages you will gain new titles from AA expenditures (up to the point that you spend 24 AA's or so). You will get notice of this, in game.
- You will also get Achievements for "landmark" levels of AA expenditures.
- I recommend that you always have at least 5% going into normal XP, in order to maintain a buffer that will help keep you from losing a level with deaths, or be able to XP to new Levels faster, when they are added to the game.
- I also strongly suggest that Levels are always better than AA... so don't sacrifice too much (if any) normal XP for AA XP until you max your Levels. AA's are a narrow 'one-thing' increase where Levels are overall increases.
- Some AA is both earned and free. This means that the AA is a reward for an accomplishment. You don't have to "buy" them (no AA is spent). It is simply awarded to you upon satisfying the requirement. Such AA's may not appear in your AA Window, until you actually earn them. This is why some refer to such AA's as "hidden AA's." Such AA's include ones granted by merit of Level, by Item Buff clicks and / or quest related (achievements, etc.).
- You can not earn AA XP until you attain Level 51. However, you can be awarded "free" AA's -- or purchase certain free AA -- before Level 51.
- INNATE means the AA it will become part of your stats / abilities, forever.
- PASSIVE means the AA automatic, you do not have to activate it by making and using a Hot Button.
- MAXIMUM means that the maximum amount you can have (of whatever it applies to), has been increased.
- BASE essentially means your raw amount (the unenhanced amount of whatever applies) has been increased.
- ACTIVATED means the ability has to be activated on purpose, via Hot Key. Such AA' will normally have a a button labeled "Hotkey" (to make a Hot Button with) for this purpose. Activated abilities do have reuse timers, which can often be reduced via higher levels of the same AA.
BE AWARE: There are quite a few AA's that boost statistics by a noted amount or percentage. The in-game description of these AA's is quite deceiving. For example... the current Level of the AA might say it increases your stat by 10%. Then, if you look at the "Next Rank" description, it might say that it increases your stat by 12 %. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that it will add another 12% to the stat it affects. HOWEVER -- THIS IS NOT THE CASE! This is a RUNNING TOTAL. The next level simply increases the TOTAL benefit of this AA from 10% to 12%. Thus, it is only adding 2%, bringing the total benefit to 12%, from the 10% that it was.
The AA Categories are as follows:
- GENERAL: These AA's are common to all classes. The exception is the Tinkering, Alchemy and Poison Making AA's, which will only be seen by Gnomes, Shamans or Rogues, respectively.
- ARCHETYPE: These AA's can vary by Archetype (i.e. Caster, Hybrid, Fighter, Priest). 'Archetype' categories can and do apply to multiple classes. The AA's your Character see's here will be determined by your Characters 'Archetype.'
- CLASS: These AA's are specific to your Character's Class (i.e. Paladin, Shaman, Warrior, etc.).
- SPECIAL: These are 'special' AA's, that honestly, could fit in and be moved to the General and / or Class category, for the most part. It includes AA's that are specific to your class (i.e. Holy Steed); universal and progressive AA's that are awarded from acquiring items with certain click effects and then using them (i.e. Form of Defense); expendable Glyph AA's; universal AA's that were once known as 'Veteran AA's' (i.e. Throne of Heroes); universal AA's awarded / earned from Achievements and / or Quests (i.e. Banestrike, Essence of the Dragon, Journeyman's Speed...) and similar.
- FOCUS: This Category that could easily be moved into Class Category, for the most part, as all of these AA's are specific to your Class. They are enhancements to certain Spells, Disciplines and even certain AA's.
- MERC: This category is specific to Mercenaries and is the same for all Players. These AA's apply either to and enhance a specific Merc Type (Healer, Melee DPS, Caster DPS or Tank), or apply to any Merc type.
If you note any errors, misspellings, item name errors, misinformation or anything that needs addressing on this page -- PLEASE let me know via an in-game EQ Message (Bonzz on the Bertoxxulous server), or post on Bonzz's Discord Server!
This Page Last updated December 30, 2022
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