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This article was written by the player Rhorae and posted on May 9, 2011.
It was last updated by Shadowfax on May 23, 2014.

Introduction

Equipment is one of the most important factors influencing a character's abilities. There are many helmets, gloves, magical items, swords and staves with a vast array of effects which can aid a character. My aim is to explain these effects, give suggestions on what to look for based on your character's class, how to go about conducting your search, and include examples of real equipment.

When you begin the game, the equipment you find in the first couple of areas is often sufficient to assist you in completing the first few quests and getting your first batch of levels. Once you leave the camp and start exploring the outside world, however, you will find your enemies increasing in power quickly, and you will need to upgrade your equipment accordingly. With so many items available to choose from, determining what is best can quickly become a confusing process for a beginner!

I just found something, how do I know what it does?

Let's start by examining the commands we can use to help us. The game provides powerful tools for obtaining details about items and about your character. When dealing with equipment, the most important tool for gathering information is the identify feature. The 'identify' command (id for short) will allow you to view the complete information of any item level 30 or below, totally free. In order to identify items that are higher level, you will need to use an identify spell on it. Many mobs in the newbie areas may be found carrying 'a scroll of identify', which is a magical scroll that can cast the identify spell on any item. These can also be purchased in the guarded encampment and the Vemarken newbie grounds for a very affordable price. Finally, if you are a level 13 or higher mage, you can learn and cast the identify spell yourself. All of these methods provide the same information.

You can also use the 'compare' command to see the stats of two objects and compare them.

Let us now identify an object, and break down the information we get piece by piece so we can understand it. I'm going to go shoplift something random ... Ok, here we are:

Item: 'pair studded black gloves metal'
Weight: 1 Size: 1'0" Level: 10 (relatively uncommon)
Object is: THIEF
Type: ARMOR Composition: FABRIC Ac-apply: 5
Wear locations are: HANDS
Item has effects as:
Affects: DAMROLL by 1
Affects: HIDE by 1

The first line gives us every keyword we can use to refer to the item. This is called the "name" or "insult" string. You can use these keywords to make the item respond to commands. For example, 'wear gloves' and 'wear black' will both allow one to wear this item.

The next line shows us how large the item is, and its level. In this case, the gloves weigh 1 pound and are a foot long. The size and weight doesn't have too much of an impact, except you won't be able to pick them up if you are carrying too much weight (see the "Encumbrance" line in the 'score' screen or 'show encumbrance' for how much weight you can carry) and can't put them into a bag that's smaller than the item's size. The level on the other hand is a bit more important; it tells us what level we have to be in order to use the item. If a level 7 character attempted to wear this pair of gloves, they would be unable to do so. Also on the second line is the phrase 'relatively uncommon'. This refers to the item's rarity and gives an overall estimate of how many people possess this item. Rarity is unimportant except for a few high-level objects.

The next line contains the item's flags, or special characteristics. This one has only one, 'THIEF'. What this flag does is restrict the use of this item to thief characters, or more specifically, characters who are at least level 10 in the thief class, because of the level 10 requirement on the line above. There are many other flags that items can have. Some, such as glow, rare, or light, offer information about the eq. Others, such as cleric, anti_evil, or good, describe restrictions on who can use the item. (For a detailed presentation of such flags, see here.)

Next we come to what type of item this thing actually is, and what it's made out of. These gloves have the type "armor", and are made of fabric. Since they are of type armor, we are also informed of their 'ac-apply', or how much protection these gloves can offer. In this case, they provide a bonus of 5 to your character's AC. If the number here was 3, they would provide only 3 AC points worth of protection. Objects of the "magic" type also convey their ac-apply to the wearer. Although there are several other object types, most wearable equipment will be type armor, magic, other or weapon.

The next line tells us where the item can be worn. Since this is a pair of gloves, they are worn on the hands. Note that some pieces of equipment can be worn in more than one location (though not at the same time, of course, unless you have multiple copies). Also note that the wear location influences the effectiveness of the ac-apply on the previous line, see 'help armor multipliers' in-game for details of each location. As an example, if a breastplate worn on body had an ac-apply of 5, it would actually add 15 points to your AC, because items worn on body have their ac-apply multiplied by 3.

All lines after this detail extra effects the item gives you while it is equipped. These are very important and range widely in their usefulness. Many items in the game are excellent simply because of their effect list, while some have effects which cripple them severely.

Taking a look at these gloves, we see they have 2 affects: DAMROLL by 1 and HIDE by 1. DAMROLL by 1 increases the damage you will be able to do in melee combat, while HIDE by 1 makes it easier to hide without being detected. Equipment effects will be continually referred to in this article.

Whew, so much information packed into so few lines of text!

I understand what this item does now, but is it good?

Now that we know how to determine what a piece of eq will grant us, we can work on figuring out what kinds of eq we're looking for and recognizing it when we find it. I'm going to outline the two main types of classes, caster and fighter, and the equipment a character of these classes should attempt to obtain below.

Caster Classes

Mages, clerics, necromancers and druids are famed for their magical prowess, but what some may not know is that their equipment set aids them greatly with their spellcasting. Caster class equipment relies almost exclusively on its effect list to be of use. The main effects casters should look for on their eq are:

  • MANA - This directly impacts your maximum mana. The more mana your character has, the more spells you can cast before having to sleep.

  • MANA_REGEN - Influences how quickly your character will regenerate its mana. The number given is the extra (or subtracted, if negative) mana you will gain per tick (approximately 30 seconds). Note that this is the same regardless of whether you're sleeping or standing and in a fight! Characters who have built up a good mana regen set can regenerate well over 50 mana in 30 seconds, even while fighting! While sleeping, this number can exceed 100.

  • INT - Modifies your character's intelligence stat temporarily, for as long as the item is equipped. Having higher intelligence provides more mana, can slightly improve mana regen, and might allow you to learn and cast a spell you wouldn't be able to at your base stats. For example, icebolt requires 23 intelligence, but you have only trained your int to 21. No problem, just wear some equipment with effects totaling at least 2 intelligence points and voila! You can learn and properly cast icebolt.

  • WIS - Modifies your character's wisdom stat temporarily, for as long as the item is equipped. Having higher wisdom provides more mana, can slightly improve mana regen, and might allow you to learn and cast a spell you wouldn't be able to at your base stats. For example, icebolt requires 19 wisdom, but you have only trained your wis to 16. No problem, just wear some equipment with effects totaling at least 3 wisdom points and voila! You can learn and properly cast icebolt.

  • MAGE_CAST_LEVEL - This effect allows you to cast spells as if you are a higher level mage than you actually are. This is powerful, and especially prominent at high levels. Equipment of this sort for early to mid-levels is often limited and can be rare or pricy, but it is definitely worth the investment. You can type 'show clevel' to see your casting level for each of the caster classes.

  • CLER_CAST_LEVEL - Same thing as MAGE_CAST_LEVEL, except it applies to clerical spells.

  • NECR_CAST_LEVEL - Same as the two above effects, but boosts the level of necromancy spells instead.

  • DRUID_CAST_LEVEL - Same as other castlev equipment, but for druids.

  • CAST_ABILITY - This influences your chance to succeed when casting spells. Wearing equipment with positive cast ability will make it less likely for you to fail to cast spells. Many magic users even claim to have cast spells they don't even know with the aid of this type of equipment!



Equipment examples:

Item: 'brilliant dark amethyst necklace'
Weight: 2 Size: 2'0" Level: 18 (very common)
Object is: ARTIFACT
Type: ARMOR Composition: CRYSTAL Ac-apply: 1
Wear locations are: NECK
Item has effects as:
Affects: MANA_REGEN by 3
Affects: WIS by 1
Affects: INT by 1
Affects: MANA by 7

This necklace provides 3 extra mana regen per tick, 1 added to intelligence, 1 added to wisdom, and 7 added to your maximum mana for as long as you're wearing the item. This is a powerful item for its level, and a great addition to any casting character's eq set. Rumour has it a map has been found by one of the inhabitants stranded on the island near Kordan. This map will assist in hunting this necklace down.

Item: 'wizard wizard's black staff'
Weight: 3 Size: 5'0" Level: 11 (very common)
Object is: RARE GLOW FLOATING
Type: WEAPON Composition: WOOD
Weapon damage: 5 to 30 pound, 14 strength to use.
Item has effects as:
Affects: MAGE_CAST_LEVEL by 1
Affects: INT by 1
Affects: MANA by 10

This weapon provides a mage casting level, in addition to 10 mana and 1 intelligence. Notice that there is a piece of information we haven't encountered yet: namely the strength to use. This just means you will need 14 strength to wield the staff. 14 strength isn't too much, and most magic weapons have a relatively low strength requirement, so don't worry about it too much. Many adventurers report receiving one of these for completing a quest in the False Temple. Keep in mind this item will not benefit a cleric or necromancer as much as a mage, unless you are planning on using mage spells anyway. As this is a multiclass mud, I recommend keeping it around in either case.

Item: 'adept insignia badge small yellow'
Weight: 1 Size: 0'3" Level: 23 (very common)
Object is:
Type: OTHER Composition: FABRIC
Wear locations are: NECK
Item has effects as:
Affects: CLER_CAST_LEVEL by 1
Affects: MANA by 8

This gives a cleric casting level, and provides 8 mana. For a true newbie, this item may be hard to come by, as it's in a relatively high level area nowhere near the newbie islands. However, many higher level players are capable of obtaining one and can sell one upon request. You should also check shops and donation rooms regularly! Keep in mind this item will be less useful to a mage or necromancer than a cleric, but should you intend to cast cleric spells as well, it will benefit you the same way.

Item: 'silver edged black band'
Weight: 1 Size: 0'7" Level: 12 (very common)
Object is: GLOW NECR
Type: ARMOR Composition: METAL Ac-apply: 1
Wear locations are: WRISTS
Item has effects as:
Affects: NECR_CAST_LEVEL by 1
Affects: MANA by 4
Affects: CHR by -1

This item gives a boost of 1 level to your necromancer spells, as well as 4 mana. However, take a good look at that third affect, CHR by -1. Here we are introduced to negative effects on items. There are many items in the game with these, and it is important to evaluate them. In this case, losing 1 charisma doesn't really interfere with our ability to cast a spell or fight, and if we have enough cleric levels we can easily counteract its effect by casting presence. However, if the band had INT by -1 instead, it would be a lot more problematic, as it could make spellcasting more difficult, or at the very least lower our mana and/or mana regen. It is said that the soul faerie in the hidden Moogle forest has the power to create these if given soul crystals.

Fighter Classes

Thieves and warriors, in contrast to the classes above, are primarily fighters. While fighting, they wear equipment either designed to dish out or take hits, or a combination of both. At lower levels, achieving a balance can be difficult, so my personal recommendation is to focus on hitting power first unless you plan to group a lot and wish to be a tank.

Effects will still be the main determining factor regarding the eq you use. However, for protective eq, the AC-apply is also important. Effects you should be looking for are as follows:

  • HITROLL - Hitroll improves your ability to hit through your enemy's defenses. This includes armor, parry and dodge.

  • DAMROLL - Damroll adds to the amount of raw damage each of your hits will do. Damroll is also a critical calculation in the damage done by the backstab skill.

  • ATTACKS - Affects your overall attack speed. Wearing equipment which raises this will make you perform melee attacks faster in combat.

  • STR - This modifies your strength for as long as the item is equipped. Strength also influences how much damage you do, and having a higher strength also allows you to wield heavier weapons and carry more weight.

  • DEX - Modifies your dexterity for as long as the item is worn. Dexterity helps you dodge and parry your enemy's blows, and will improve the chances of succeeding with almost any thief skill.

  • ARMOR - In addition to the ac-apply of an item, it can also manually add to or subtract from your armor class. Note that the multiplier for wear locations does not apply to this. If it says ARMOR by 7, that's what you get, no matter where it's worn.

  • HIT_POINTS - Directly modifies your maximum hitpoints while the item is worn.

  • CON - This modifies your constitution for as long as the item is equipped. Having a higher constitution raises your maximum hitpoints and also aids in hitpoint regeneration.

  • DODGE - This influences the likelihood of you dodging your enemy's attacks. If you dodge their attack, it doesn't hit, and does no damage.

  • PARRY - This influences your likelihood of parrying an enemy's attacks. If you block their hit with your weapon, it does no damage.

  • THIEF_SKILL_LEVEL - Raises the level of your thief skills. For example, if you are a level 10 thief wearing +5 THIEF_SKILL_LEVEL, most of your skills will be used as though you were a level 15 thief.

  • WARRIOR_SKILL_LEVEL - This is exactly like THIEF_SKILL_LEVEL, except that affects warrior skills instead of thief skills.



Keep in mind that out of the rather large list of effects above, hitroll, damroll and armor are the only ones you should worry about at first. If a piece of equipment has strength or dexterity on top of hitroll and damroll, great, it'll help you out and you will find items like that all over the place. But equipment sets purely based on hp or dodge aren't something a new player should worry about. They have their uses, and once you're more experienced, go ahead and gather one up, but for now, consider them as nice bonuses if they happen to be on a good piece.

Equipment examples:

Item: 'rusted orc spiked shield'
Weight: 6 Size: 2'0" Level: 11 (relatively common)
Object is:
Type: ARMOR Composition: IRON Ac-apply: 4 Requires 16 strength to use.
Wear locations are: SHIELD
Item has effects as:
Affects: HITROLL by 1
Affects: DAMROLL by 1
Affects: CHR by -1

This shield, pried from the dead hands of the orc guard in the imp mines, boosts the hitroll and damroll of the wearer by one each. At low levels, this is pretty useful, and several items like that will allow you to damage your foes with ease. As your level rises, you will want to look for items which give a larger boost.

Item: 'demon shadow shadowy mask'
Weight: 13 Size: 1'1" Total levels: 65 (very common)
Object is: RARE GLOW
Type: ARMOR Composition: BONE Ac-apply: 1
Weapon damage: 2 to 4 fast pound, 23 strength to use.
Wear locations are: HEAD
Item has effects as:
Affects: DAMROLL by 2
Affects: HITROLL by 2

This mask gives a boost of 2 to both hitroll and damroll. This is a powerful item for its level, and many high level players use "2/2" items in their equipment sets until they can acquire items that are even better, which tend to be rare. Completing a quest in the Blackwater Hollows can result in obtaining this mask.

Item: 'mail banded glowing'
Weight: 18 Size: 2'0" Level: 20 (relatively common)
Object is: RARE GLOW
Type: ARMOR Composition: MITHRIL Ac-apply: 13
Wear locations are: ON_BODY
Item has effects as:
Affects: HIT_POINTS by 5

This piece of equipment is designed to protect its wearer. If you noticed the ac apply on the first two pieces of equipment, you'll have seen that they were quite low. This piece however has an excellent base armor. 13 is fairly high, especially at level 20. Because it's worn on the body, that 13 ac apply is boosted to 39, making it a great mid-level tank item. This mail will also provide 5 extra HP to its wearer. Somehow a rather nasty squid got a hold of this, and for some reason it lives on the viking ship on Archais.

So where can I find equipment?

Equipment is everywhere! Useful equipment, however, tends to be on more powerful creatures or in chests and other treasure hordes. There are also donation rooms in various places, game-run shops and player-run shops. If you feel you're in need of an equipment upgrade, shop around. Shops offer free identifies on items, so you don't have to buy something just to find out you're a mage who just bought hitter eq, or anyone buying eq that doesn't really do anything. Finally, there is a global auction channel where people can buy or sell things. If you know of a piece you want, or at least some general specifications (mana regen for a level 20 cleric), asking on the auction channel can sometimes yield results. Try not to spam people by asking too much, though!

When you defeat an enemy, look in their corpse to see what equipment they have on them. Sometimes enemies will drop eq that you didn't see beforehand or will load eq on death. Occasionally, you come across a piece of equipment labelled (unique) in a mob's (or its corpse's) inventory. Take special care with these, because they often can yield effects more powerful than usual.

Identify everything you come across. Remove what you're currently wearing in the same wear location as the new item and identify that again. If the new piece looks better, make a swap. For example, you're wearing something with mana regen by 2 on your waist, and you pick up something with mana regen by 3 and 5 mana. The mana regen by 3 with 5 mana is clearly the better piece, so you've just made an upgrade! If it's hard to tell which one is better, for example mana regen by 3 with 5 mana or mana regen by 2 with 12 mana and cast ability by 1, try both pieces out and see what works for you. Equipment upgrading is a constant and neverending process, so just keep on the lookout for anything that could be an upgrade. Even if you can't use the item yet because of level requirements, it can be wise to make that purchase or kill anyway, because once you have the levels you will already have a brand new piece of equipment to wear in addition to all the other boosts levelling gives you!

Conclusion

There are many types of equipment on the game. I hope this comprehensive article has given you some insight into the mechanics of equipment and how to determine what you want to wear. There are plenty of equipment categories I didn't cover, such as equipment designed to protect you from heat, magical wands, equipment that can only be used by evil people, etc. But you now have plenty of information to get started, and there are always help files in the game to answer any more questions you may have.

Happy eq hunting!

Also see Dentin's Equipment Optimization article.


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