Congratulations! You just hit level 10. And now you are exposed to the daunting world of Alternate Advancements. But not to worry, because this guide is here to help!
Alternate Advancements, or AAs for short, are a means of further enhancing your character. In addition to levels, they are a means of measuring how powerful your character is relative to other characters of the same class.
Different AAs have different effects, including statistical boosts like Critical Chance, to enhancing different spells by giving them additional effects or simply improving the spell, to granting completely new spells altogether. All AAs will either provide a fixed bonus to your character or your spells and combat arts, or will scale up with your level by a relative amount with each level.
The AA window can be opened by opening your "Character Development & Alternate Advancements" window (keyboard shortcut L). There are buttons on the left for different AA categories, and tabs across the top when appropriate to that category.
There are two modes: View mode and Build mode. Switch between modes via a button in the lower right of the AA window.
In build mode there is a save button to the right. Use it to save an AA profile.
In View mode there is a drop-down menu in the upper right of the window. Use this to select an AA profile or load one from your hard drive.
see: Racial Traditions
Adventure AAs are divided into four distinct categories: Class, Subclass, Shadows and Heroic. While each AA tab generally follows the same layout for all subclasses, specific tabs may look different and grant different bonuses depending on your subclass. With Game Update 61 the tabs now unlock as you advance through adventuring levels:
Class tab, pictured below, is shared among both Subclasses of your Class (for example, Summoner tab is shared by Conjuror and Necromancer).
Your starter is required to begin the Class tree. Each starter will grant you an ability, as well as increase your base stats per point you spend. You only need to spend one point to continue, but you may spend up to 10 AA points into the ability if you wish.
The bulk of AAs must be bought in order, starting from the top and going down. These lines are labeled (from left to right) the Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wisdom, and Intelligence lines. To unlock the next AA in each line you must purchase four points into the previous ability. The more points you invest into an AA, the more powerful the AA is. Each ability has 10 ranks, costing 1 point each.
The endlines are the final AA in each line. They require 22 overall spent points in each line to unlock, and 2 points to purchase (making the minimum AA investment for each endline a total of 24 points). These abilities only have one rank. Purchasing these endlines also grants you a prefix title.
The Sentinel's Fate Attributes become available once have spent a total of 70 in the Class tree. These are independent AAs from the rest of the Class tree and do not have any requirements. Each ability has 8 ranks costing 1 point each.
The Sentinel's Fate Attributes endline requires spending 16 points in Sentinel's Fate Attributes to unlock. These endlines each have 2 ranks that cost 2 points. The overall investment in your Class tree to unlock the Sentinel's Fate endline is 88 points for one rank, and 90 points for two ranks.
Subclass AAs vary greatly depending on your class, and will probably not resemble the picture below. These AAs are only available to your specific subclass (Conjuror AAs are not available to Necromancers, for example).
Subclass Alternate Advancement trees have been reformatted. The connections have been removed and the tree is now formatted in rows.
The Shadows Tree is a little bit different than the previous trees, but functions very similarly to the Sentinel's Fate tree.
In the General line, the are AAs available to all players regardless of class. Each ability has 5 ranks costing 1 AA point each.
The Archetype line unlocks once you have purchased 10 AA in the General tree, and 60 AA total. The Archetype AAs are available to all subclasses in each Archetype (Fighter, Priest, Mage, and Scout). The six AAs each have 5 ranks costing 1 AA point each. Spending 10 AA total in the Archetype line unlocks the Archetype endline, which costs 1 AA to purchase.
The Class line represents AAs available to your Class (the same subclasses available in your Class AA tree, see above). The Class line unlocks once you spend 10 AA in the Archetype line, and 120 AA total. In general (but not always) each ability has 5 ranks costing 1 AA point each. Once you have spent 10 AA in the Class line, the Class endline unlocks, which costs 1 AA to purchase.
The Subclass line represents AAs available to your Subclass, and not to any other subclass. This line unlocks once you spend 10 AA in the Class line, and 170 AA total. In general (but not always) each ability has 5 ranks costing 1 AA point each. Once you have spent 10 AA in the Subclass line, the two Subclass endlines unlock. Each Subclass endline has 1 rank and costs 2 AA apiece to buy. Purchasing them will also grant your character a Prefix and/or Suffix title.
Added with Destiny of Velious, the Heroic tab (shown below) unlocks at level 85 and when you have spent 200 points globally. It has a 50 point spending limit.
The first row are general AA's, and are available immediately. The second row are Class-specific, and require 10 points spend in the Heroic tree.
The third and fourth rows are Subclass-specific. Row four requires 20 points spent in Heroic and 250 points spent globally. The fourth row requires 48 points spent in Heroic and 275 points spent globally.
New with Tears of Veeshan, the Dragon AA are archtype-based. There are four vertical progressive columns, with a maximum of 10 points per AA. At the bottom are four "floating" AA which require one point, and are unlocked after you spend 30AA in the column above it. You may spend only 100 AA total in this tree.
see: Prestige Talents
There are three rows of abilities and each ability can have up to 5 points spent on it. A maximum of 25 points can be spent in the Tradeskill tab. Each row needs a minimum of 10 points in it to buy into the next level. 
For more information on Tradeskill AA's, see Tradeskill Alternate Advancements
Although you can earn an unlimited amount of Alternate Advancement points (up to whatever your account allows, which varies with expansion purchased), you can only spend so many AA points. With the April 8, 2014 patch the hard cap on AA is 350, but the a character must be level 95 to earn the last 10 
Here are the limits:
Because you can only spend 160 AA total below level 70, it is impossible for someone below level 70 to purchase the Shadows Subclass abilities.
The Sentinel's Fate AAs are completely unavailable to anyone below level 81.
Although it would imply you can spend a total of 270 AAs at levels 81-90, the overall hard cap on AAs is 350. You will need to spend wisely!
There are multiple ways to respecialize your AAs.
In each of the major cities there are NPCs that will sell you AA respecs for an ever-increasing rate. These NPCs may also be placed in guild halls as amenities.
You purchase your respecs by talking to this NPC. The NPCs may be found at the following locations (you may also find them by asking a guard to find Advancement Counsel):
Advancement Counselors are also purchasable as Guild Hall amenities.
In your /claim window there may be a "Class Alternate Advancement Respec Card" which will grant you five chances to respec your Class AAs for free. The Advancement Counselors may also give you a free "Subclass Alternate Advancement Respec Card", which will grant you five free Subclass AA respecs.
To purchase additional respecs will cost money, which increases in value the more you purchase a respec.
After you purchase your 5th respec and beyond, waiting 30 days (real life time) will reset your respec cost to 10 gold.
There are several ways to earn Alternate Advancement points. Do note that you must be level 10 to earn AA points at all.
With your AA slider set to any number above 0%, every time you earn combat experience from killing monsters, you will earn AA experience. Note that this reduces your regular experience.
Virtually all named monsters and NPCs, and even a few non-named NPCs, will award AA if killed. You can tell if a named monster will award AA by targeting them and looking for a star icon in your target window. The more difficult the monster (solo, heroic, epic x2 to epic x4) and the higher the level of the monster, the more AA points are awarded.
Do note that the monsters have to con at least green, and normally award you combat experience, to earn AA experience (no free kills from grey-con mobs). It does not matter the size of your group or raid when you kill a named mob.
Most quests above level 10 will award AA. Virtually all one-time quests, and repeatable quests (the first time only) will award AA points upon completion. It does not matter whether the quest cons grey to you, only that you complete the quest.
The more important the quest (Hallmark, Signature, Heritage, etc), the more difficult the quest (Solo, Heroic, Epic), and the higher level the quest, the more AA you will earn.
Any time you complete a collection quest, you will earn AA experience. Do note that you also must be level 10 (if you turn in collections at level 9 or below, you do not earn AA experience!).
Whenever you discover a new location in an overland zone or dungeon, you will earn AA experience. See: Category:EQ2 Discovery POIs
Whenever you loot certain status and other rare items for the first time, you will earn AA experience.
A Mirror of Reflected Achievements is an object that goes into your house and, essentially, allows you to have two AA builds. It is a crafted item, available to all crafters of level 75 or higher after gaining enough faction with their city's crafting guild. It also requires a reflective smoldering shard, an NPC drop from Kunark and Shadow Odyssey instances.
The mirror itself is LORE and NO-TRADE, so you can only have one AA mirror in your house. Because it is NO-TRADE, it must be crafted via the commission window.
It is highly advised that you acquire a Mirror of Reflected Achievements. There are oftentimes that you will want one AA spec for one situation, and another AA spec for another situation.
Different classes each have their own AA builds. It is recommended you ask fellow members of your class what AAs you should get, and in what order.
Be aware that some AAs will also have no use to you if you are below a certain level. Oftentimes some AAs increase the effectiveness of spells you may not have yet. Be sure to research this as you level.
Also be sure you carefully read the description on AAs before you purchase them. They are often misleading and confusing.
|Game Update #53|
|Shards of Destiny
|Game Update #61|