Starting end-game grouping

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Altar of Malice is no longer end-game content and all related material has been archived.

Many people who play EQ2 will eventually get interested in end game grouping, which for me personally is the most fun part this game offers. There is a huge difference between playing mechanic and class optimization for players who solo and players who run group content. Many players makes mistakes of thinking that jumping right into groups after soloing entire game will not require any special transition. That is very wrong, and usually such players get kicked out of the group for holding them back. This is not right way to start grouping, and this topic will explore what exactly you need to do before you jump on group train.

Current information is aimed for players lvl 98 through 100 (current xpac, AoM).

Table of content:

  1. Gear
  2. Adornments
    1. White Adornments
    2. Purple Adornments
  3. Stats
  4. Final preparations


Current xpac, AoM, has special gear template and very few items deviate from the generic build. What I’m referring to is that armor has been made to serve specific function. Each armor piece has specific set of stats, and each piece is intended for certain class types.

Tank armor (Plate & Leather) has two usable types:

  • Mitigation + Max Health + Extra Riposte Chance + Crit BonusPotency + one additional stat
  • Block Chance + Max Health + Extra Riposte Chance + Crit Bonus + Potency + one additional stat (Ability Casting Speed / Ability Reuse Speed / Ability Modifier / Attack Speed)

DPS armor (Plate, Chain, Leather & Cloth) has four usable types:

  • Casting Speed + Potency + Crit Bonus
  • Reuse Speed + Ability Modifier + Crit Bonus + Potency
  • WDB + SWDB + Crit Bonus + Damage Per Second + one additional stat (Multi Attack / Attack Speed / AE Autoattack Chance)
  • Max Health + Crit Bonus + Potency + one additional stat (Ability Casting Speed / Ability Reuse Speed / Ability Modifier)

Healer (Plate, Chain & Leather) has 3 usable types:

  • Max Health + Crit Bonus + Potency + one additional stat (Ability Casting Speed / Ability Reuse Speed / Ability Modifier)
  • Casting Speed + Potency + Crit Bonus
  • Reuse Speed + Ability Modifier + Crit Bonus + Potency

So what exactly does this mean?

While playing in groups, you will have your own role to fulfill. It’s one of four basic roles: tank, healer, dps and util. As mentioned above, tanks have specific armor intended just for them. It allows them to reduce incoming damage and have as much health as possible to survive even the toughest of spells. As a DPS you would of course go with the best option for your class in order to cause havoc among enemy mobs.

What I’m trying to say is that you need to first establish what do you want to play (majority of fighters tend to be tanks, but some prefer to DPS; some scout classes do more damage when using WDB gear instead of their counterparts; etc…)

Here’s an overview of what your choice is:

  • Each fighter class can be:
    • Tank
    • Potency DPS
  • Scouts go in two groups:
    • Potency DPS
    • (S)WDB DPS (Dirges and Troubadours)
  • Mages are all potency DPS
  • Priests are like mages, they require potency gear

Now, take a look at the list of armor types above. These classes are not limited only to that type of armor. For example, a priest can wear WDB or mitigation armor, but this is ill advised, as WDB/Mit gear has no potency stat on it (which is most important healer stat!). Same goes for other classes, they can use whatever type of armor they want, BUT the grouping I made above is intended for those who wish to play their role right in groups. While you can wear armor not intended for your specific class-role, it will imbalance your stats and just impede your ability to do your job properly in group.

If you’re reading this article in preparation for grouping, then I strongly advise you to use gear as listed above. I’ll explain more about why this gear separation is important in stats section of this topic.

What’s up with WDB gear having no potency?

Answer’s simple. It’s to prevent certain classes from being overpowered. If you remember dreadlord gear from ToV which had both WDB, Potency and Crit Bonus and no stamina, this was OP gear for any dps, scouts especially. However it seems that this type of gear has not been included in AoM, probably to prevent extremely high damage.

Why exactly does Max HP armor fall under DPS gear?

Technically it doesn’t. However it does contain both potency and crit bonus which is always useful for potency DPS classes. This is a convenient temporary piece until you find a replacement. Max HP also reforges quite low, so it’s not worth keeping as a permanent armor piece. It’s also worth noting that Necromancers who spec for lifeburn can use this armor piece for extra HP while lifeburning.

Why do a lot of priests wear Max HP gear?

Current xpac is all about surviving massive arcane/elemental/noxious damage received throughout instances. In order to heal their groups, healers must not only have strong spellbase (potency) but also be able to survive much longer then their squishy counterparts. This means having much more health then the rest of the group, with exception of tank of course. This gear is perfect for priests, but it may not be wise to gear all up in Max HP. Mix it with Ability Modifier too.

White Adornments

It’s imperative that you use latest tier of adornments, incandescent, as they’ve been doubled in their power and AoM gear has been reduced to one white adornment slot (with some primary/secondary/ranged exceptions). Using previous tiers of adornments will most certainly reduce bonus stats.Tier XI adornments: Incandescent Adornment of |Name| ( |Tier| ), where:Name is:

  • Aggressiveness (Hate Gain)
  • Agility (AGI)
  • Arcane Resilience (Arcane Resistance)
  • Blocking (Block Chance)
  • Critical Chance (Critical Chance duh)
  • Damaging (DPS)
  • Defense (Defense)
  • Elemental Resilience (Elemental Resistance)
  • Endurance (STA)
  • Energy (Power)
  • Extra Attacks (Multi Attack)
  • Fading (Hate Loss)
  • Haste (Attack Speed/Haste)
  • Heightened Power (Ability Modifier)
  • Increased Criticals (Crit Bonus)
  • Intelligence (INT)
  • Magical Skill (Disruption, Focus, Subjugation, Ordination & Ministration)
  • Noxious Resilience (Noxious Resist)
  • Parrying (Parry)
  • Prismatic Resilience (Arcane, Elemental & Noxious Resistnace)
  • Raw Power (Potency)
  • Reuse (Ability Reuse Speed)
  • Strength (STR)
  • Swift Casting (Ability Casting Speed)
  • Weaponry (Crushing, Piercing, Ranged & Slashing)
  • Wisdom (WIS)

And Tier is:

  • Lesser (Handcrafted)
  • Greater (Legendary)
  • Superior (Fabled)

Ok, so what do I adorn for optimal bonuses?

After a few xpacs and lots of testing I have found most optimized white adornment template that I apply on all my toons. Using this may help you optimize your stats accordingly, leaving you some wider wiggle room for reforging.


  • Head: primary attribute (AGI/INT/STR/WIS)
  • Shoulders: primary attribute (AGI/INT/STR/WIS) or casting speed or haste
  • Chest: DPS (scouts, mages, priests or dps speced fighters) or weapon skill (scouts, fighters) or magic skill (mages, priests) or block chance (tanks)
  • Forearms: primary attribute (AGI/INT/STR/WIS) or casting speed
  • Hands: weapon skill (scouts, fighters) or magic skill (mages, priests) or hate gain (tanks)
  • Legs: primary attribute (AGI/INT/STR/WIS) or casting speed
  • Feet: weapon skill (scouts, fighters) or magic skill (mages, priests) or reuse speed (tanks)


  • Cloak: casting speed
  • Charm: casting speed or reuse speed
  • Ear: prismatic resilience (if bellow 140k) or crit chance
  • Neck: DPS (scouts, mages, priests or dps speced fighters) or weapon skill (scouts, fighters) or magic skill (mages, priests)
  • Ringprismatic resilience (if bellow 140k) or crit chance or defense/parry (tanks)
  • Wrist: weapon skill (scouts, fighters) or magic skill (mages, priests) or hate gain (tanks)
  • Waist: DPS or primary attribute (AGI/INT/STR/WIS)


  • Primary: crit bonus (scouts, fighters) & potency (mages, priests) & block chance (tanks)
  • Secondary: crit bonus (scouts, fighters) & potency (mages, priests) & block chance (tanks)
  • Ranged: crit bonus (scouts, fighters) & potency (mages, priests)

So should I just apply these right away?

As I said, I have found this to be optimal template for my toons. This however does not mean it will suit you just the same! The best way to explore this is using ACT (Advance Combat Tracker). It’s a free 3rd party tool that reads your combat logs and extracts data. Whatever you do while this program is running in background will be recorded, processed and presented in diagram forms and statistical analysis. You can use it to test one set of adorns, then change a few adorns, and test again. Then compare results and see which is better. For more information about tools you can use to to help you adorn, check these links:

  • Advanced Combat Tracker (ACT) (3rd party software that extracts your combat logs and presents you an analysis of each encounter. Good for testing your toons and to know how much you actually contribute to the group. Also it’s free. For those wondering, no this 3rd party does not break any EULA by SOE and is widely used tools by many players. It also supports various MMOs not just EQ2.)
  • Dethdlr’s Adornment Calculator (shows you which piece of gear can hold which adorns. Good for planning ahead before adorning and reforging.)

Purple Adornments & War Runes

Purple Adornments

Usable slots: 7

AoM introduces new feature for purple adorns, set effect. More runes of same stat you have, more bonuses you get. It’s wise to plan this before adorning as currency used to by them isn’t easy to come by. Some different runes sometimes belong to same rune set. For example:

  • Sigil of Damage set: Damage Per Second, Flurry, Doublecast, AE Auto Attack
  • Sigil of Defiance set: Armor, Block Chance, Endurance, Hate Gain

There’s also 3 different tiers of purple adorns (each gives a little bit higher bonuses then previous tier):

  • Regular – bought from Ferrin merchant at Phantom Sea docks
  • Mastercraft – recipes bought from Far Seas Trader on Kithicor Island camp in Tranquil Sea (near alchemy table where TS daily NPC stands)
  • Superior – recipes drop in Heroic, Heroic Event, Contested and Raid AoM instances

So there are 3 different version of each purple adorn. They all belong to the same corresponding sets. For example, if your toon had regular DPS purple adorn equipped, along with Mastercrafted DPS and Superior DPS purple adorn, you would still get all 3 effects from Sigil of Damaging.

OK, got it, cool new bonuses if I group them together. How do I use this to my advantage?

Planning! Before you start doing group stuff first you must have right stats, achieved through adorning and reforging. Because reforging costs platinum and purple runes cost Ferrin, it’s wise to plan this ahead. First inspect your stats. See what you have too much and what you need! Consult “stats” section of this article to know what you need. Then inspect your gear and see what and how much of the stats you can reforge (more info on what stats can be reforged in “stats” section).

So the thing with sets is to know how to use them perfectly to get most out of set bonuses. I can’t tell you all for each class and each individual toon, this all depends on your stats, gear, class focuses, etc. But I can give you a few examples I myself use:

  • Since scouts need flurry (which can only be adorned to shoulder piece) I gain one bonus effect from Sigil of Damage. Second thing scouts need is AE auto attack, I add 2x AE Auto Attack purple runes (one to Forearms, other to Legs). This gives me three effects from that set. First two bonus effects are +27 DPS each, and third bonus is +27 DPS, +2.5% AE, +0.5 Flurry, +0.5 Doublecast. That leaves me with 4 free slots for purple runes. For all scouts with exception of bards, I use power adorn (+cb & +pot) and crit bonus adorn for bards.
  • For tank I use obligatory mitigation adorn on chest (only piece which can be adorned by this) and block chance on shoulders (also only place where this one can be used). That gives me two effects from Sigil of Defiance. I also added 2 Hate Gain adorns which belong to this same set, giving me 4 effects. First 3 effects in that set increase stamina by 60 each. Fourth effect gives me additional 60 STA and 3% Block Chance. For the rest I used 2 AE and one DPS to get 3 bonuses from Sigil of Damage.

Know that as you upgrade your gear, you will slowly have to change and reforge further, which could mean you will have to change your purple as well. Don’t worry, it’s a long process before you finally truly build a perfect toon.

For more information on purple adorns and sets, visit AoM Tradeskill Guide: Purple Set Runes.

Purple War Runes

Usable slots: 5

AoM re-introduces old war runes from ToV with heightened effects, sometimes even with new bonus stats. These are acquired by two ways:

  • As recipes from Tradeskill Apprentices (SC Feature), which become available to research as soon as you hit TS level 100
  • Can be bought from Far Seas Trading Company merchant on Kithicor Island in Tranquil Sea, and can be scribed by level 100 artisan (any TS class)
  • Recipes can be traded, which means they can be found on broker

There’s nothing specific I can tell you about these other then to use proper runes for your class. Use whichever you find to be a good fit to your toon and your play style. Focus should be on:

  • For tanks it’s all about survivability, so go with ones that increase HP, resistances to stifle/stun/root effects, damage reduction or deflection, etc
  • For Mages, Scouts and DPS speced fighters, it’s all about damage. Use those which increase your DPS stats (dps, attack speed, etc), crit bonus, potency, spell damage increase, etc.
  • For utilities like bards and chanters, same logic can be applied, however I like to diversify them to add even more buffs to the group. Add a few adorns which buff entire group, like group potency increase, group CB increase, group spell and CA damage increase, group spell and CA range increase, etc
  • For healers, I prefer to be immune from effects which disable me from healing. Go with stifle and stun immunity adorns (Note that some classes through AA spec can get these immunities, like inquisitor for example who can become immune to stifle while standing still). Other then that, you can go with those that increase potency or your healing abilities, etc…

For more information on purple war runes, visit AoM Tradeskill Guide: Purple War Runes.


Stats 101

If you’re not exactly certain what some of these stats do, please read the following links:

  • Combat Mechanics and Player Progression laid bare (external link: eq2wire) – Explains what each stats does, and how it affects your toons. Data is a bit outdated (article was written back in ’10) like DPS cap for example which no longer caps at all, but the descriptions of each stat is still valid.
  • Cap (external link: wikia) – A little bit more info about stats and mechanics, like stat caps, conversions, etc (this data is bit dated too, back from ToV, however since CC no longer uses same mechanic it can be ignored, rest of the article is valid)

What stats does my class need?

Before you start doing any group runs, it’s imperative that you have your stats in order. I will not address each individual class type stas, there are a few topics on that issue. Use stats on these topics to properly set your own:

How can I make my stats like that?

It’s a three step process:

  1. Acquire AoM gear (crafting, advanced solo; solo armor is not recommended as it’s not upgradeable and is weak compared to yellow malice armor)
  2. Adornments (chapter before this one addresses adorning)
  3. Reforging (unfortunately this feature has to be purchased with cash or SC cards, cannot be gifted. It is essential part of end game, as you can’t have proper stat setup without reforging.

What stats can be reforged?

Not all stats can be reforged from and to. Also not all stats yield same ratio when reforging.

Following stats can be used to reforge into other stats:

  • AE Autoattack Chance
  • Ability Casting Speed
  • Ability Modifier
  • Ability Recovery Speed
  • Ability Reuse Speed
  • Attack Speed
  • Block Chance (low reforging ratio, bad source to use for the process)
  • Damage Per Second
  • Extra Parry Chance (low reforging ratio, bad source to use for the process)
  • Extra Riposte Chance (low reforging ratio, bad source to use for the process)
  • Max Health (low reforging ratio, bad source to use for the process)
  • Mitigation Increase (low reforging ratio, bad source to use for the process)
  • Multi Attack Chance

Next is the list of stats that can be reforged into:

  • AE Autoattack Chance
  • Ability Casting Speed
  • Ability Modifier
  • Ability Recovery Speed
  • Ability Reuse Speed
  • Accuracy
  • Attack Speed
  • Damage Per Second
  • Multi Attack Chance
  • Riposte Damage
  • Strikethrough

After doing all that my stats are still not near those numbers. Am I doing something wrong?

No, it’s perfectly fine. Those stats are for optimized toons capable of running hardest of instances. If you’re slacking behind it’s because you don’t have better gear which drops in heroic instances. However as new gear comes through grinding you’re gonna close in on those numbers. My point it, those numbers are what you’re aiming for and should concentrate on that.

Anything ether I should know about stats?

One last thing. Each instance requires certain amount of arcane, elemental and noxious resistance to counter massive damage being done on your group throughout the fight. You must meet these requirements or you will get one-shotted by aoe from easiest of mobs! Please check THIS LINK to know how much of each resist you need in order to survive (red numbers). Resistance stats come from jewelry and adornments (Arcane, Elemental, Noxious and Prismatic Resilience)

Final preparations

Spells and Combat Arts

Before finally going out to explore new dungeons, one last very important thing is to max your top tier spells/combat arts. This means upgrade them to at least expert level! This part may seem tedious unless you have lots of plat or pack ponies, as it will take a lot of time to harvest necessary rare materials (your skills like mining and gathering need to be 500 in order to be able to harvest rares!). With upgraded version of pack pony, you’ll get a chance to receive a rare or two ever now and then. Last option is buying with plat, but rares are still expensive and may take you as much as 1k platinum in order to fully update your spell/combat arts. If you want to know status of all your top tier spells, open and search for your character(s). Once found open the Spell tab to see what spells are considered top tier and what tier they are.

If you wish to look for crafter who can make them, you’ll need Alchemist for Fighter spells, Jeweler for Scout spells and Sage for Mage & Priest spells.


Now you have to make sure your hotbared spells and abilities are arranged in right order. I tend to arrange my hotbars in various manners. For example, on my tank first hotbar are single target abilities, second hotbar are AoE abilities, third hotbar are self buffs and fourth are group buffs. I use similar template for swashy as well: 1st – single target, 2nd AoEs, 3rd – Self Buffs, 4th – Debuffs.

Ability Rotation (Casting order)

It’s also important to learn rotation of your spells/CA and buffs to maximize their effect. This means casting them in right order. I can’t give you much details about this, rotation highly depends on each class and their AA specs (I can guide with the few classes I myself play with though). I do apply some general logic to it, which can be used in by any class.

For example, first arrange them according to their recast speed (spells which become reusable faster are to the left). This means spells 1-5 should be fast casting abilities with low recast time, and will be cast much more often then the other half. Then rearrange these same bars further according to their importance. For my shadowknight I prefer to start off combat with spells which increase my threat and drain mitigation. This gives me short mit buffs while simultaneously keeping mobs at by so my group members wouldn’t snap them. For warlock on the other hand, I like to start combat with self buffs for potency and CB to sharply increase the damage done by my spells. Explore your buffs and see which are better used just before combat and which are better used during. There are numerous combinations you could use to truly maximize damage output and all it takes is a few minutes of reading what they do and arranging them to suite your needs!


Here’s list of misc items that you should carry with your, which may prove helpful.