Welcome to level 36,
This is a continuation from this
By now, you may have started to see the next batch of defiant gear dropping, Rough Defiant again, these will help you survive, and in this part you will start to see your experience bar progress more slowly.
If you have not been to Stone Hive yet, you may want to consider heading there, and doing these Quests to help you out.
At this point, you may also want to start consider joining a guild. That will help you get groups, as well as increase your network of friends. in this game you can never have too many friends, as you definitely have an unlimited number of enemies.
Manytspells for casters will be dropped, or quested, but most of these spells are also available from the appropriate spell vendor in the Plane of Knowledge Library. You can use the FIND command to find these vendors. Most of these spells can also be researched, but that is probably only useful if you are actually trying to learn the research tradeskill.
Once you hit the 40's, experience (XP) will slow down, however this is mitigated if you stay in the hotzones, as you will be more easily able to get groups there, and in a group you can kill faster, and get more XP.
By now you are level 45, and may have seen Ornate Defiant armor and weapons dropping. These are definite upgrades to the previous set, and you will need it.
Level 46, you can access some areas that you have not had access to before. The older raid zones were unlocked as of 4/17/2008, making it easier for people to access them for older quests that are not done as a raid any more. Most of these zones are fun to check out, and explore. However on the raid zones, just because you can zone in, you most likely will not live long there without a well geared group.
At level 50, you will want to start looking up your Epic 1.0 Quest, and consider starting that. The 1.0 is mostly one groupable, and some have said they soloable, but they will take a bit of time. Most of the items are outdated, and it is easier to get the 1.5 bypass quest to start on your 1.5, but a few may still be useful, e.g. Water Sprinkler of Nem Ankh for clerics.
New gear as well, Flawed Defiant armor and weapons should start dropping for you.
At level 51 you can start earning Alternate Advancement points. Many of these Alternate Abilities will greatly increase your skills and abilities, and you may wish to focus on on earning some of these before leveling further. This can be done by adjusting the slider on the Alternate Advancement window.
You now have a strategic decision to make related to AA acquisition. Two of the alternatives are:
o Continue leveling until you reach your 80's or higher (see the next in this series where that approach is discussed in more detail) or
o Begin to acquire AAs now.
The argument for leveling is that you acquire more power, faster, at higher levels. The armor, spells, and overall increase in HP and Mana are important and powerful. You will also find groups faster and be more attractive to guilds.
On the other hand, the rate of acquisition of AA's will never be faster than at level 54 - 59 when grouped with a level 80 - 85. It is easily possible to earn 20 - 30 AA's in a hour in the right zone with the right partner, and while some classes can approach that rate at level 85, none can do so consistently, and most cannot do it at all.
The difference between a level 55 with no AA's and one with 300 or so is profound, and that difference will continue to be meaningful as your character continues to develop. You may also have difficulty getting accepted into groups or raids without some important AAs. Some of these AAs will increase your stats or resists, while others will increase the damage you can do or reduce the damage you take. These AAs are grouped as General (all classes can get), Archetype (shared by a group of similar classes such as casters), Class (specific to that particular class), and Special. Special AAs include Veteran Rewards (long term subscribers to the game), special quest AAs, and Glyphs which are single-use abilities. Free-to-play accounts may be limited in the total number of AAs they can learn while Gold (paid subscription) accounts can potentially learn all AAs available to that class.
At level 54 you can now group with a level 80 character and get experience. You cannot do an instanced mission with them, but in an open zone you can group and get experience (usually at a BIG increase in XP).
It used to be that at level 55 the spells were harder to get, and you would want to start collecting all "Parchments" and "Scrolls" and the like that you find, e.g. Fine Runic Parchment and Shabby Fine Spell Scroll. These can be used to make spells, and many casters will be glad to make them for you just to get the practice in. However, most or all spells up to level 90 are now available from the vendors in the Plane of Knowledge Library (except for Rank II and III spells).
Level 57 is where you will be able to group with an 85th level character and gain experience. At level 60 you will be able to group with a 90th level character and gain experience.
You may even at this point have participated in a "Raid". This is when more than one group get together to take out a mob that cannot be done with a single group. These are generally the more challenging events in the game, and additionally, reward the best gear.
Level 60, you may want to look through the hotzone chart again, and hit up some of the old hotzones to get some Augments to beef up your armor if you have not already. You will also start seeing Intricate Defiant armor and weapons starting to fall.
In no time you will be up to level 71, and ready for the next stage of the game.