So, there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding things like Expansions, AA stuff, gear and a lot of other things that new players (ingame as well as on the forums) have a hard time figuring out since there is little to no information ingame about these things.
I will try to explain the most important information about the aforementioned topics (like write very small “mini reviews” of what you can do and get in these expansions and when it is worth buying them) because right now I can’t find a guide for these. I am apologizing for mistakes in terms of language since I am not a native english speaker, if any mod want’s to edit errors feel free to do this
This guide is aimed towards AoC related stuff, that means I am not going to explain things like “DPS”, “perk” or “tank” since these belong to general knowledge about RPGs and MMORPGs, however, I will try to go into detail about the abbreviations that are used AoC-specific things like special talents or a certain sets of relics that you can gain when doing raids or dungeons.
NOTE: I do voice my personal opinion about these expansion whether I liked or disliked them, what I consider useless or useful - this is my opinion and you do not need to share it, feel free to post what you think about the expansion, where you agree or disagree with me. I try to show all sides of the expansions I experienced in almost 8 years of playing AoC so you can make your own first impression about each expansion!
Right now there are 4 expansions in Age of Conan, you can buy them in the item shop ingame. The item in the shop itself doesn’t really explain how you can access to the expansion but it is actually really easy (but confusing for some players because of the lack of messages and so on that tell you that you gained access to these expansions). You simply buy the expansion in the shop, you need to relog once and that’s about it, now you have access to all the playfields / quests / gear items that are included in this expansion.
The 4 expansions that are available in the game are the following:
- Rise of the Godslayer
- Savage Coasts of Turan
- Secrets of the Dragon’s Spine
- Tales of Hyboria: Shadows of Vanaheim
These expansions got new playfields, enemies to fight, quests, dungeons, gear sets and other items, raids and one even makes it possible to gain a new feat tree for you class that you can progress in (mostly) on level 80 and a new character race.
-------- Rise of the Godslayer --------
This one is by far the most important expansion from all the 4 available. Rise of the Godslayer gives you access to 5 new playfields which are (when compared to the old ones) very huge and set in the chinese themed Khitai. Playfields that RotGS contains are:
- Gateway to Khitai, level 20 - 40, a starter area like Wild Lands of Zelata, Conall’s Valley or Khophshef Province, you get here as a khitai character once beating Strom and finishing Tortage (This area can actually be entered without possessing the expansion however, you wont be able to enter the dungeons there)
- Northern Grasslands, enemy level 80 - 82, the first playfield where you encounter specific factions (which I will explain later on)
- Province Chosain, enemy level 83 - 84, once you progressed far enough in one faction you will be lead here by their own story quest line
- Kara Korum, enemy level 83 - 84, another area that you will be led to once you progressed far enough in a certain faction
- Paikang, enemy level 85, the last area that you will be led to once you got a certain rank in a faction
-------- How to get there if you are not a native khitai character --------
From Khemi. At the mainland (southern part of the map, you need to swim across the water or pay a few copper to let a ferryman bring you there) there is a traveler that will bring you to Khitai in one of two way depending on how you want to do it:
You can either pay 20 silver to get guards so protect the caravan, after the loading screen you will be at the very beginning of the Gateway to Khitai OR you choose to not pay the silver (because especially on lower levels this is an extremely high price), this leads to a random encounter that you need to beat in order to continue your journey across the silk road. These random encounters can be one of several different ones, saving the ship from an attacking kraken, carrying water to people at your caravan that are dying from thirst or fighting off raiders that try to attack the caravan.
-------- Factions in Rise of the Godslayer --------
Once you gain access to the high level playfields of Khitai you will be able to choose a faction that you can join, there are 10 factions (12 if you count in the special “hidden” ones) that you encounter in the various areas. Every faction has their “counterpart” that they are enemies with, if you decide to join the faction of the “Last Legion”, their opponent “Scarlet Circle” will be hostile towards you, their faction members (only NPCs, not real players) will attack you on sight whereas the members of the Last Legion wont attack you and become “friendly” (green NPC name like in cities).
Doing quests, killing members of the hostile faction will grant you renown at the faction you are fighting for.
There are 4 ranks in each faction, this rank will decide what kind of access you got to their gear sets or quests. Ranks are determined by how much renown you got at a faction, once you reached 1.000.000 renown you are at the highest rank (rank 4) of a faction.
Each faction quest will reward you (besides renown, money and other items) with “Marks of Acclaim”, these become very important once it comes to buying faction gear in Khitai.
Tip: Press L to open up the faction windows to see which faction you are in and how much renown you got or what rank you are!
A great way to quickly increase your faction renown without doing much is turning in Imperial Insignias at a faction herald. These heralds stand in several main locations of these factions (and they got a blue question mark above their head all the time), one Insignia gives 200 renown (they are not effected by premium membership bonus like renonw you get from quests). Insignias are rewards from various quests (mostly from quests that do no belong to a faction, so called “poster quests” or dungeon quests that you get at the entrance) and boss kills in dungeons.
The Khitai main story quest line rewards you with lots of Imperial Insignias too so be sure to progress there.
-------- Faction Gear --------
Factions have specfic sets of gear (some have several different armor classes like heavy, light and medium armor) that suit the various classes, one set of gear can be bought by “Marks of Acclaim” (which you can by doing faction quests as mentioned before). The price and amount of MoAs (I am going to use the abbrivation for this term from now on) depends on the “tier” of the armor, faction merchants will sell armor parts that are purchaseable at rank 1, those items don’t cost a lot of money and MoAs.
The price increases if the item requires a higher faction rank, ultimately you can buy 2 epic items from the faction merchant each for 12 Gold and 980 MoAs (wrist armor and boots) that require you to be rank 4 in that faction.
However, there are even more merchants.
The dungeon armor faction merchant sells, as the name suggests, dungeon armor. This dungeon armor is free from any rank requirement BUT you got different types of symbols now that you need in order to buy the armor, these are “Simple Trophy I”, “Simple Trophy II”, “Simple Trophie III” and “Rare Trophy”.
These different trophy types are gained by doing dungeons in Khitai (which I will explain later on), simply said, Trophy I drops in dungeons in the Northern Grasslands, Trophy II drops in dungeons that are in the Province Chosain and Thropy III drops in dungeons in Kara Korum and Paikang.
Gear bought with Simple Trophies I - III are blue gear items, gear bought with Rare Trophies are epic gear items (only head and chest armor), those are the ones you want!
All other epic items from the corresponding sets drop in the dungeons (hand, belt and shoulder and legs items). The pants are a special item that only drops in 2 dungeons, Enigmata of Yag and the Ai District, the main bosses there drop pants from ALL factions so expect a lot of farming to get the specific pants you want to have.
The last type of merchant is the faction weapon and accessoires merchant, they will sell you consumable items like potions (cost MoAs), weapons (cost Gold, MoAs and rare trophies), necklaces or rings (cost Gold, MoAs and rare trophies) and special items like pets (for MoAs) or items that you need for your faction mount.
So, to get a full epic Khitai gear set you will need to:
- be rank 4 to buy the wrist armor and boots for 980 MoAs and 12 gold each
- have 2 times 196 Rare Trophies and 16 gold to buy the helmet and chest armor piece
- beat various dungeons in which the items you want drop (look at this incredible useful site to see what drops where http://aoc.is-better-than.tv/armory.php)
- optionally, you can buy the legs item (well, pants) for 980 MoAs, 248 Rare Trophies and 10 Gold at the faction trader
-------- What is “Critigation”? --------
All enemies in Khitai are able to perform critical hits against the player, these critical hits (obviously) deal lots of damage and can be mitigated by “Critigation Chance” as well as “Critigation Amount”. Armor items will grant Critigation Amount, perks from the AA tree will grant you Critigation Chance.
As the name suggests, Critigation Chance is determining what chance you have to mitigate a critical hit from an enemy.
Now the Critigation amount takes into effect how much damage of that critical hit will be mitigated.
Especially tanks want high Critigation Chance and Amount to be able to tank as many hits from bosses as they can; and let me tell you, hard mode bosses can do incredible high critical hits if you got no Critigation Chance and Amount (up to 4k crits even in T2 gear).
Khitai Gear is the easiest way to get Critigation Amount since T1 - T3 armor does not provide any Critigation Amount which makes them far inferior to Khitai Gear when tanking bosses in Khitai.
-------- What is “Healrating”? --------
The amount of healrating determines how much healing (or shielding in some cases) your AA heal spells do, there are different armor sets in Khitai for healers that provide more healing but less damage as a trade off.
Johara got a really great site that lets you calculate how much healrating effects the AA healing spells, you should really check it out: http://joharaoc.eu/aaheal
NOTE: Healrating ONLY effects your Alternative Advancement healing / shielding spells such as Celestial Gaze, Shimmering Invocation or Sleuth of Bears! All other normal healer spells are NOT effected by healrating!
-------- Faction Mounts --------
3 of the 10 factions in Khitai offer you a special mount, a Tiger (Tamarin’s Tigers faction), a Wolf (Wolves of the Steppes faction) or a painted horse (Hyrkanians). There are a lot of tests out there on the internet where mounts get compared to each other but simply said: Khitai mounts are fast. Really fast. But they also cost a lot of time and money, you need to be rank 4, gain a tiger cub (simple pet at that point), train it to reach several stages and then finally train it to be a mount (if you want to, it can stay as a pet if you decide to use at as a combat pet).
-------- Which Faction should I join, where do I get the best gear for my class? --------
This is probably one of the most asked questions when it comes to choosing which faction to join. All the factions provide several different gear sets, some are generally more useful than others and some are niche sets that are only useful in some situations.
In this section I will list the most useful sets for every class, there is a general “consensus” which factions are the best ones for every class if you want to push things like DPS or Healrating to a maximum.
Mixing sets is a vital part of getting a good combination of all stats your class needs, a Dark Templar that only goes for DPS items will never be able to main tank bosses and thus becomes very useless in a lot of scenarios, same goes for a Tempest of Set that only goes for healrating items and does almost no DPS at all!
NOTE: I will talk about armor items in this part, if you want to get things like weapons and accessoires you will need to switch factions, I will talk later about that.
Dark Templar: Last Legion, Wolves of the Steppes, Tamarins Tigers
The best setup for a DT is a mixture of these sets:
- Last Legion full plate wrist item, pants and helmet
- Wolves of the Steppes full plate boots (they got critical damage rating unlike the Last Legion boots)
- Tamarin’s Tigers heavy armor chest (this chest provides critical hit and damage rating which is needed for a DT, the other sets do not provide critical rating on their chest items)
- The rest (shoulder, belt and hands) should consist as a mix of these sets too, the Wolves belt and Last Legion shoulder items are easy to get and provide very good stats
Guardian: Last Legion, Wolves of the Steppes
When it comes to faction sets, a guard got not a lot of options, you will mostly try to get a full Legion set since this set will provide the best survivability and hate increase.
- Last Legion full plate wrist, pants, helmet, chest
- Wolves of the Steppes full plate boots (again, they got critical rating which the Legion boots lack, the strength and constitution bonus is also better)
- The rest will mostly be a mixture of Last Legion and Wolves items too (Wolves belt is good and the Legion shoulders just like DTs)
- The set of Tamarin’s Tigers is no real option for Guards since you will lack too much surival and hate stats to be a good tank and due to the nature of a guards low DPS you wont be able to catch up with DTs or Conqs ins DPS battle
Conqueror: Last Legion, Wolves of the Steppes, Tamarin’s Tigers
Tanks really don’t have that much of a choice when it comes to tanking and the factions, mostly because of the same reasons.
- Last Legion wrist, pants and helmet
- Wolves of the Steppes boots
- Optionally the Tigers chest if you feel confident enough to give up a bit hate for more DPS
- The rest will be a mix of Legion and Wolves items, you can put in a Tiger item here and there to push your DPS a bit for a little less survival, this completely depends on you and your tanking skills
For all tanks: If you want protection gear there is no other option than using the Last Legion gear since no other faction offers full plate armor with protection.
Priest of Mitra: Scarlet Circle, Children of Yag-Kosha
The Priest of Mitra can get into a lot of mana problems if you go for a full set of Scarlet Circle gear, you will get a huge bunch of Magic damage, however, your mana pool and your healrating will be very low.
Generally said, you will need most parts of both Scarlet Circle AND Yag-Kosha gear so you can switch between damage and healrating + survival.
A good way to start is the following setup:
- Children of Yag-Kosha helmet, wrist item and boots
- Scarlet Circle chest and pants
- The rest should be Scarlet Circle gear, belt and shoulders are very easy to get
Optionally you could try to get the Scarlet Circle gear for mages if you mana is too low, it provides no healrating but you will gain additional damage, protection and a lot more mana (up to 300 mana per item). You will most likely not get these items if there is a mage in the group but whenever there is non you should get a few parts, missing 100 or 200 healrating wont save most fights, having 650 additional mana however can save a tank.
If you need a boost for your health pool the items from the Hyrkanians are the best way to do that.
Tempest of Set: Scarlet Circle, Children of Yag-Kosha
Given that the Tempest of Set doesn’t require a lot of mana because of his insane mana leech potential, you can most likely got for the same mixture of items as a PoM, maybe even a bit more damage oriented if you got a Fangs of Set spec with the healing Idol AA talent.
- Children of Yag-Kosha helmet, wrist and boots
- Scarlet Circle chest and pants
- The rest can be Scarlet Circle gear (since you got good mana leech and can easily go from 0% to 100% mana in a few seconds), if you still miss some mana you can do the same as I explained for the PoM: try to get some Scarlet Circle mage items.
Same goes here for the HP boost, try to get some Hyrkanian items that increase your health pool if needed.
Bear Shaman: Children of Yag-Kosha, Tamarin’s Tigers
Most Bear Shamans got Bewilder specced, this makes you able to go for a more DPS oriented set of gear since you wont need as much healrating.
- Tamarin’s Tigers helmet, chest, pants, wrist and boots
- The rest can (and probably should) be Yag-Kosha items since the healrating on the Tigers gear is really low and you still need at least some mana for your manifestations + heals
Again, if you need some more HP, try to get some Hyrkanian items as these boost your HP very good.
For all healers: In some fights you will need protection yourself, the Yag-Kosha set provides protection and is your only option to get protection while still maintaining average damage and good healrating. High amounts of healrating is also needed in some fights, especially in raids, the Yag-Kosha set provides the best healrating before you get T4 sets.
Ranger: Tamarin’s Tigers, optionally Hyrkanians and Children of Yag-Kosha
Pretty straight forward, Tamarin’s Tigers is the only faction that you need in order to do good damage. There is really not much to say about this, if you need some more protection for fights you will need to go for the Children of Yag-Kosha set (probably not the full set but at least some parts of it), if you need more HP you will have the best items at the Hyrkanians who can boost your health pool with a few items.
Barbarian: Tamarin’s Tigers, Brittle Blade, optinoally Children of Yag-Kosha
Again, in order to deal good damage you can easily go for a full Tiger’s set, there are a few Assassin items at the Brittle Blades that provide a little more DPS which you can pick up but since it is cloth armor your survivability will go down a little bit but that shouldn’t be a problem
- Brittle Blade helmet, pants and chest
- Tamarin’s Tigers wrist, boots and the rest
The DPS increase when picking the BB items instead of the Tiger items is really low, we are talking about 2 - 3 DPS, so you decide if you want to run to Paikang and get the items there or just stay in Chosain and buy all the items at the same spot
As for protection items (which you will need almost never) the Yag-Kosha set is the only option you have.
Assassins: Brittle Blade, optionally Scarlet Circle
Since you can’t really go for any other set, the Brittle Blade items will provide the most damage, as I mentioned, you can go for the Scarlet Circle gear if you need more protection but given that Assassins can easily get high protection by using their own feat tree you wont need many of these items.
Demonologist / Necromancer: Brittle Blade, Scarlet Circle
I personally tend to use Scarlet Circle items with my Demo / Necro because this set simply provides higher damage, mana and protection at the same time, some people however always see the BB set as superior. I can’t really see why to be honest. The BB set will give you a little bit more critical rating (the chest item got 50 critical rating more, that’s about it) but overall lower magic damage, since most mages will probably use the 100% critical buff while Spellweaving the critical rating on your gear becomes almost irrelevant in most cases.
I built the gear for my Demo / Necro like this:
- Brittle Blade chest item
- The rest scarlet circle, you get a huge amount of mana, more magic damage and almost double the protection (which you get from the BB set by intelligence)
Herald of Xotli: Brittle Blade, optionally Scarlet Circle
Heralds of Xotli sadly have almost no options when it comes to choosing gear, T1 - T3 sets are crap and no faction offers a viable option to the Brittle Blade set which provides you the most damage. Optionally you can use some pure magic damage items from Demos and Necro (again, if there is none of these in your group) if you want to go for a bit more magic damage but for the most part, the Brittle Blade set is the best set you can get until you reach T4.
Some Scarlet Circle items can be used to push your protection a little bit more but for DPS this set is useless.
Kantakwa posted a link that opens a Google Spreadsheet where you can look up all the combined stats of a whole faction set, it is in german but most names are very similar to the english names.
- Rüstung = armor
- Schutz = protection
- Kritmilderung = critigation
- Kampfwertung = combat rating
- Magieschaden = magic damage
- Ausdauer = endurance
- Stärke = Strength
- Geschicklichkeit = Dexterity
- Heilwert = Healrating
- krit. Trefferwert = critical rating
- krit. Schadenwert = critical damage rating
- Hasswert = hate increase rating
Weapons, Accesoires, Potions and so on:
As I mentioned above, getting these items will often need you to switch factions, some of these items are really great and usefull, others are a waste of time, money and trophies.
Priest of Mitra / Tempest of Set: The best way to boost your healrating as a PoM / ToS is to get the staff “Tail of the Vaaghasan” from Tamarin’s Tigers, the damage on it is pretty low, a little bit better than T1, but it is good for weapons switching when using AA heals to get a huge boost in healing with it’s 705 healrating. It costs a lot but it is really worth it if you can’t get T4 weapons (or higher) anytime soon.
The Wolves of the Steppes provide a good necklace that boosts your healrating by another 110 and provides some wisdom for magic damage. Optionally you can go for the blunt + shield (from Brittle Blade and Shadows of Jade) but that needs you to have 2 factions on rank 4 which just costs more time especially because their are opposing factions.
Good damage potions can be bought from the Last Legion, 25 wisdom + 135 critical damage for only 20 MoAs (and the buffs stays after death!).
Bear Shaman: Shamans get their first good healrating weapon from the Wolves of the Steppes, again, just like the Tail of the Vaaghasan the damage of this thing is really low but the healrating boost is really great when quickly switching to it during AA heals.
A good ring can be bought from the Shadows of Jade, Tricksters Charm, it adds a good bonus to your DPS but provides no healrating.
A potion can be bought from the Brittle Blade faction, 25 strength + 135 critical damage.
Tanks: For DTs and Guards the one handed weapon from the Yellow Priests of Yun is pretty nice with it’s hate increase, sorry Conqs, there are no good weapons for you from factions.
The ring from Shadows of Jade is a really good thing to get, or you go for the ring from the Brittle Blade faction which gives you constitution + protection (probably one of the best protection rings in the game that is easily accessible).
The Hyrkanians got a necklace with strength and constitution.
A potion can be bought from the Brittle Blade faction, 25 strength + 135 critical damage. (or for DTs optionally the one I mentioned for PoM / ToS)
Mages: Demos / Necros can get a dagger with intelligence from Tamarins Tigers and a talisman from the Hyrkanians, the Tigers also provide a necklace with a good amount of intelligence (all three items will boost your mana pool very nicely).
A Herald of Xotli can get a good sword (well, better than T1 - T3) from the Hyrkanians.
Ring can be bought from the Children of Yag-Kosha.
A a potion (25 intelligence + 135 critical damage rating) can be bought from the Yellow priests of Yun.
Rogues: Assassins can get a good dagger from the Hyrkanians, provides a lot of critical rating, Barbarians can get a one handed blunt from the Children of Yag-Kosha but I don’t really recommend it, same goes for the bow you can get as Ranger from the Wolves of the steppes.
Barbarians can get rings from the Shadows of Jade.
Rangers and Assassins can get a good necklace with dexterity from the Scholars of Cheng-ho, dexterity rings can be purchased at the Yellow Priests of Yun faction.
A potion for Ranger and Assassin can be bought from the Children of Yag-Kosha faction, Barbarians get one from the Brittle Blades.
-------- Dungeons in Khitai --------
As mentioned before, there are several different types of trophies you gain from doing normal mode / hard mode dungeons in Khitai. Dungeons in Khitai are very special (and there are a lot of them, 17 different dungeons including two solo dungeons) when compared to “old world dungeons”. Here you need to keep track of special spells, do emotes and do other funny stuff to beat bosses. There are a lot of videos about the dungeons on YouTube, I am not going to explain the mechanics of each dungeon (not yet, maybe later on when I am finished with the general idea of this thread) because that will take far too much time.
Each Khitai dungeon comes in 2 versions: Normal mode or hard mode. Once the fight starts you can decide wether you want to do the hard mode version or the normal mode version of the fight, this depends all on the dungeon, some need you to do a special emote (Celestial Necropolis in Kara Korum), others need you to use a special item (Reliquiary of Flame, use an oil phial on the fire you ingited to summon the hard mode version of the boss).
If you decided to do the hard mode version of a fight the boss will be a lot stronger (level 86), your gear needs to have a certain standard (you can’t do these bosses with only green level 80 armor as tank) and certain mechanics get harder. Obviously, the loot is a lot better in the hard mode version than it is in the normal mode version. A killed boss in the normal version will drop blue khitai dungeon items, some even a few weapons or accesoires and always a few simple trophies as well as very few rare trophies. The hard mode version will reward the group with a special boss chest at the end of a fight that you need to “kill”, the chest is literally an enemy but does not attack, it’s just made like that so you can relog on another character and get the loot on that one when killing the box. This box grants you a few extra rare trophies and EXP towards your Alternative Advancement Tree and most importantly: epic gear items.
HM (short term for hard mode) fights also require special feats that the Alternative Advancement Tree contains which leads to the next point.
- NOTE: Rare Trophies, Simple Trophies and AA EXP are seperate loot items that you don’t need to “win” by rolling on them, after the box is opened EVERY player in the group will have a few windows pop up where he can claim these rewards! However, all GEAR items need to be won (by rolling need on them) in order to receive them!
-------- Alternative Advancement --------
At level 20 you will start to gain experience points towards your Alternative Advancement tree (AA tree), this tree contains permanent improvements to your character, you can not reset the points there since you can gain basically unlimited points, even if you trained every single perk. NOTE: You do NOT need the expansion RotGS to use the AA tree, this was changed in 2016 when the membership revamp hit the live servers!
This tree works in one way different than the normal feat tree: You have passive abilities (which increase your basic protection against magic for example) and you have abilities that you need to “equip” to use them. On the left side of your lower hotbar there is a symbol that, if clicked on, will show 6 slots that you can put AA talents in to activate them. As I said, some are passive and don’t need this, others like the “big perks” will need you to put them into these slots to be able to use the spell.
The tree itself is build up in 3 categories which is shown by 3 layers, blue, red and silver. These 3 layers contain different perks: The blue one is the same for every class, this is the basic layer. The red layer is archetype specific, all 3 classes of a archetype (Soldier, Mage, Healer and Rogue) share this layer. The last, silver, layer is the class section, only your class can get those improvements.
To do hard mode dungeons you need some of these specific perks that you gain by spending points in the AA tree. I will list the most important AA feats here that are needed for HM dungeons:
Rogues: Tainted Weapons (short: TW, needed to remove healing effects from enemies) and Finely Honed (short: FH, needed to remove shield buffs from the boss)
Soldiers: Resolve (used to remove “wreck effects” from yourself)
Healers: Steadfast Faith (short: SFF, needed to remove ruin effects from yourself and your group).
Mages: Unbinding Charm (short: UC, needed to remove root effects from yourself or another player)
Most fights require these perks but there are certain fights where you can avoid certain mechanics by doing extra stuff, in those cases the perks just make the fight easier and a lot more safe.
The last thing about the AA tree: You got the left “PvE” side (yellow, called Mastery) and the right “PvP” side (orange, called Prowess). Once you gained 1.000.000 AA EXP you gain 3 points of the corresponding side and one expertise point. The different perks require a certain amount of points from one side or from both sides (those in the middle of the tree which are the important feats I listed above). Expertise points can be spend on any side without any restrictions.
As an example: I want to learn the feat Tainted Weapons. I need 25 Mastery points as well as 25 Prowess points however, I don’t do PvP stuff and wont get these points, therefore I can try to gain 25 Expertise points to replace the need of Prowess points for that feat.
On level 20 as a subscribed player you can also train AA talents over time, every few hours the points needed to learn will decrease, if you let the timer run out completely you basically learned to perk for free.
-------- Ways to gain AA EXP --------
AA EXP can be gained by doing a lot of things in the game, every kill (PvE or PvP) will grant you EXP towards the corresponding side of the AA tree. Khitai dungeons got special phials that grant you an AA EXP bonus once you killed the boss and open the box, faction quests grant some AA EXP or you can directly “buy” AA EXP by spending Simple Trophies I - III at a specialy mystic merchant in evey main citiy in the Khitai playfields.
Simply said: Do dungeons / quests and kill enemies to get AA EXP, not very different from leveling a character to level 80.
Also: Premium players gain 1 expertise point per normal level (meaning you got 79 of them on level 80), those make a good start so you can instantly do HM dungeons but they are not necssary (back in the old days we all had to far from 0 just like F2P players nowdays have to).
-------- Raids in Rise of the Godslayer --------
There is one tier of raid in Khitai, T4 - The Jade Citadel. This raid offers one of the best sets of armor and weapons in the game, It requires you to have several gear sets (protection against magic, healrating set, damage set and so on, depending on your class) and is a pretty tough challange for people that are there for the first time (even in the nowdays nerfed version). In this raid you gain “Simple Relic IV” and “Dragon Tears”, those are the equivalents to the T3 versions “Simple Relic III” and “Rare Relic”, you need 40 Simple Relic IV to buy a small piece of armor (wrist, boots or hands for example) and 60 Simple Relic IV + 1 Dragon Tear to buy a big piece (chest, leg and helmet armor).
-------- Special Quest: The Milestones of Khitai --------
There is a special quest in Khitai that rewards you with a good ring (there are 4 different ones which you can choose one from), this quest is gained by traveling to khitai the first time, a mysterious man called Cang-Jei appears and is talking to you in a short cutscene until you continue your journey. You can also share the quest in a group to other members if they didn’t get it or you can get it by clicking a scroll at a shrine in Paikang.
This quests expects you to replace all 37 Milestones along the main road that leads from the gates of the Great Wall to the Jade Citadel in Paikang. You can get these milestones in the various dungeons of Khitai as well as from completing quests for a special faction in Paikang. There are 37 different symbols that you can place alongside the road on the corresponding milestone pad but you don’t necessarily need to collect 37 individual symbols, for example: You can basically place 37 times the smybol of the wolf if you want to. If you got a symbol from a dungeon (you need to win them by rolling need on them) they will be placed into your quest object inventory.
-------- Conclusion --------
There is a lot to do in Khitai, factions got their own little story line and then there is the main story line that you need to complete. The dungeons serve a really awesome challange especially to new players since their gameplay differs completely from most other dungeons in AoC. The gear there is (mostly) really great basically the key part you need to achieve to do most higher tier raids or dungeons. The AA tree gives you another new way of progressing to make your character stronger (some classes get extremely strong with AA talents).
Rise of the Godslayer is basically a must have for everyone who wants to have more content on level 80 and wants to progress further in the game.
Onto the next expansion.
-------- Savage Coasts of Turan --------
This expansion grants you access to the playfield Coast of Ardashir which can be described as a persian themed area. The playfield itself is a area aimed towards players on level 50 - 55, there are leveling quests like in all other playfields in the game, besides that the playfield also offers a dungeon for level 80 players, 2 solo dungeons as well as the T3.5 raid.
- Coast of Ardashir, level 50 - 55, questing area with a big city
- Dead Man’s Hand, level 20 - 80 (scales with your level), a solo dungeon that contains various quests and can be done as a HM version on level 80
- Isle of Iron Statues, enemy level 83 - 84, a solo dungeon for level 80 players, can be done in a HM version when completing a time run
- Ardashir Fort, enemy level 85, a group dungeon for good geared people
- Temple of Erlik, T3.5 raid
-------- How to get to Turan? --------
Very simple: At the same spot where you can travel to Khitai. There is another traveler NPC that brings you to Ardashir, this costs no silver like it does when traveling to Khitai, there are also no random ecounters, the traveler works just like the other traveler NPCs in older areas.
But before you go to the traveler you will need to have a special quest, you wil get this quest from Tali in Khemi, she stands somewhere at the “Souk”, the bazaar-like area on the island. Once you got this quest you the traveler will take you to Turan, this quest is also needed for a “main quest” that kind of introduces you into the area as well as quests for the dungeons and so on.
-------- Gear in Turan --------
Before level 80 there is no special gear to get in Turan besides an epic level 55 weapon of your choice from an arena group quest (similar to the one in the Noble District of Tarantia). Once you are able to do the dungeons and the raid there you can access really cool looking opulent armor sets that drop as blue armor parts (not full sets) in the Fort of Ardashir where you also get an epic helmet if you beat the last boss in the HM version (here you will need AA talents too!). This helmet is equivalent to Khitai counterparts (the epic helmets that you can buy from Dungeon armor merchants) if not better in some cases (better mix of stats). And it’s free (well almost, you still need to finish the dungeon in it’s HM version), I think I don’t have to mention that this is a good thing
The epic versions of the turanian armor sets are dropped in the T3.5 raid. In the (small) temple of the city there are also merchants that sell the armor sets for all the classes. To buy this type of armor you need T4 relics as well as Rare Relics from T3 raids. The raid itself drops armor items and rewards you with T4 relics for each boss kill, the boss chests may contain Rare Relics or even Dragon Tears. Special weapons only drop from bosses there, they can’t, unlike the T4 weapons in Paikang, be bought at the raid gear merchants.
-------- Factions in Turan? --------
Yes, there is one faction but honestly, it offers no great rewards and the grind to get to rank 4 there is incredible long, you get only like 4 or 5 quests (you can start them before level 80 but you only have like 2 of them available at that point since some of them lead you into the Ardashir Fort), these quests offer no MoAs and the faction got only one merchant that sells blue weapons for characters on level 50, some tattoos and some mounts for level 80 (special armored tigers and a rhino).
It’s really not worth the time grinding to rank 4 other than completing all the achievements.
-------- The solo Dungeons --------
The two solo dungeons in this expansion are great ways on level 80 to access an extra income of Rare Trophies which you need for epic Khitai gear (as mentioned before).
Dead Man’s Hand is a big island that you can explore and do some quests on, before level 80 it basically serves as a leveling are, on level 80 however, you can do the HM version of it, enemies will be level 82 and the reward at the end of the special quest line (that is repeatable, you need to defeat 3 bosses and then kill a random boss at the end) is AA EXP as well as 3 Rare Trophies.
The Isle of Iron Statues is only for level 80, enemies there are always level 83 - 84, when normally completing the whole dungeon (it’s a linear path that you need to follow, you need a quest to access the isle) you are rewarded with AA EXP as well as 2 Rare Trophies from the last boss. However, if you manage to do the time run there (you need to reach certain checkpoints in a set time and kill a big spider boss) you will be rewarded with 3 - 4 extra Rare Trophies once you manage to kill the last boss (Like in the Khitai dungeons, after you killed the last boss a killable box will spawn and drop the extra loot).
Both dungeons have a cooldown of ~20 hours, so you can do them daily and get 8 - 9 extra Rare Trophies each day if you manage to do the time run on the Isle of Iron Statues.
-------- Conclusion --------
The Savage Coasts of Turan is a good expansion, it offers leveling players as well as level 80 players some things to do. The leveling aspect might be short (since the level range of that are is only 50 - 55) but it adds variation when leveling more than just one character to 80 (Like if you can’t stand the Eiglophian Mountains anymore you can just go here and do quests). The group dungeon there (Ardashir Fort) as well as the raid are extremely well made and very fun, the solo dungeons add an extra income of Rare Trophies which is always nice to have. A lot of people say that the raid gear there is not worth getting since it costs T4 relics and you could basically buy T4 gear with it (which has better stats) and it’s true, stats-wise the T3.5 armor isn’t that great but to be honest: It looks ■■■■■■■■ amazing. If you are a vanity gear freak like me you want these gear sets. The weapons that drop in the raid are really great (some better than T4). Ardashir Fort is a challanging dungeon with great reward (AA EXP, lots of Rare Trophies and a epic helmet), you can also reset that dungeon and basically farm it the whole day if you want to until you finally get your epic helmet.
-------- Secrets of the Dragon’s Spine --------
This expansion is mainly for highly geared players, raids and dungeons there are considered “endgame content” since they represent the most challanging group instances in the game and drop the best type of gear that is available in Age of Conan. The expansion consists of only one playfield but has several dungeons and 2 raid instances. The area called Dragon’s Spine is located in Stygia where excavators found old ruins of an ancient civilization called “serpent man”.
- Dragon’s Spine, enemy level 85, a huge desert playfield with different locations like an Oasis, ruin fields or canyon-like mountains, there are several quests here that you can do as well as one very long and well made main story line that leads you through all the locations of this area
- The Coils of Ubah-Kan, a very difficult dungeon that drops epic pants for all the classes, like Khitai dungeons you will need to to special puzzles in order to beat the dungeon
- Sepulcher of the Wyrm, another difficult dungeon that contains various puzzles throughout the dungeon
- The Slithering Chaos, again a very difficult dungeon with very challanging boss mechanics, here you can get the best rings in the game without farming the Raidfinder
- Otherworldly Junction, the entrance to the T5 raids, you fight against the 4 T1 bosses but with very hard mechanics, basically an unchained / hard mode version
- Palace of Cetriss, T6 raid, highest tier raid in Age of Conan as of now
-------- How to get to the Dragon’s Spine? --------
Again, just like you get to Khitai or Turan, in Khemi there is another traveler at the same spot where the other two are (well, not exactly the same spot but he is standing around at the same location, the mainland part), it costs 10 silver to travel there, however, you can’t choose another option (like when talking to the Khitai traveler) to defend the caravan, you always need to pay 10 silver (or teleport there for free with your Achievement Teleports).
-------- The main playfield “Dragon’s Spine” --------
Unlike Khitai, there are no factions here, quests still reward you with a huge amount of MoAs which makes questing here a great way to farm them if you are bored of Khitai areas, questing here is faster than in most Khitai areas but a lot more difficult since all the enemies are level 85 (like in Paikang) and mostly bunched up in packs (Hyenas or a lot of incredible strong spiders, really pay attention when fighting them!).
Once entering the Dragon’s Spine you will quickly get the main story quest, to complete this quest you need to do all kinds of side quests for various NPCs.
Rewards for the quests are pretty good, as I already said, the amount of MoAs you get here is incredible high (especially when you get 100% more when being a premium player), you also get a lot of money and AA EXP.
I personally liked the main story line, it’s really worth checking out in my opinion.
-------- Gear / rewards from Dragon’s Spine --------
As I said, there are no factions and therefore no faction merchants that sell gear. However, the dungeons here drop several gear items, mostly blue ones but they still got really good stats on them but mostly you wont need them since in order to do these dungeons you need far better gear (especially as tank and healer).
Coils of Ubah-Kan drops epic pants from all the Dragon’s Spine armor sets, these pants are incredible good stats wise, comparable to T4 but also very hard to get.
Sepulcher of the Wyrm drops epic hand items which are fairly good in most cases. Other interesting items are the talisman that got magic damage and protection on it (DTs really love this thing), the necklace with a huge amount of combat rating and a ring with lots of constitution and crit rating on it.
The Slithering Chaos drops, as mentioned before, so called “Chaos rings”, those are special rings that got, just like the Raidfinder rings, Chaos Gem slots in them. These rings got very high stats, the are basically the best rings in the game if you don’t want to farm Atlantean Shards for the Raidfinder rings. Besides the rings this dungeon is the ONLY source of “Chaos Gems”, there is no other place that drops these gems.
NOTE: All these dungeons drop lots of Rare Trophies and AA EXP!
Chaos Gems are a special type of gem that you can only put into the Chaos Gem slots, these gems come in 3 different variations:
- rare, with a few stats on them, they drop only at the first boss (they are not bound when picked up so you can sell them to other players at the Trader)
- epic, same stats BUT they got a so called “blessing” on them, they can drop from all the 3 bosses
- legendary, stats on them are doubled (well, almost) and they got 2 blessings on them, they only drop from the last boss
The stats on these gems depend on the gem type as well as what kind of class you are looking at them, a Barbarian sees combat rating on a gem whereas a Necromancer sees magic damage, this only counts for the “fierce” gem type.
The 3 types of gems are:
- fierce, combat rating, magic damage, healrating increase, depends on your class what stats they got
- precise, critical hit rating increase
- warding, protection and armor increase
So, what are these blessings? These blessings are also called “T6 buffs” since weapons and necklaces in T6 got blessings on them too, you can combine blessings to get some extra buffs like critical damage rating, armor penetration, heal rating or hate increase.
How do these blessings work? Simple, to get a blessing buff you need 2 items that contain the same blessing as an example: You got a gem in both of your rings, both gems got the “Blessing of Emandua” on them, this results in you receiving the buff “Blessing of Emandua x2” which grants you +600 Healrating. These blessings can be stacked up to 4 where their stats increase drastically (the Emandua blessing boosts your healrating at x4 for 1260 which is insane).
Remember, you ALWAYS need 2 items that have the blessing engraving to receive the actual buff!
A legendary gem got always 2 blessings but NEVER the same blessing 2 times!
Besides the dungeons there are the two raids, I wont talk a lot about those since as I already said, they are the two highest raid tiers in Age of Conan and thus obviously reward you with very good gear. The T5 raid also rewards you with a rune (it basically works like a permanent food buff item) that adds finesse hits to certain combo attacks or adds other interesting things to your class. You can read more about them at the traders at the Dragon’s Spine, their description is good enough to get the general idea of what they do.
There is one more way to get gear at the Dragon’s Spine, a merchant that sells dungeon armor, shoulder items and belt items. These items are from the Dragon’s Spine set and can only be bought here, some of them are extremely good, others are worse than Khitai parts, I suggest you to check out AoC>TV (http://aoc.is-better-than.tv/armory.php) to see which item is worth buying. These items are sold for 196 Rare Trophies and 10 gold.
-------- Conclusion --------
If you are done with Khitai and need more endgame content you will need this expansion, it’s really great, offers a lot of stuff to do, ranging from a questing area to challanging dungeons and raids.
You will need very good gear to participate in the dungeons and raids since as I mentioned, this is the very last progressive content Age of Conan offers, to do the dungeons you will need at least epic Khitai gear and in some cases even T4 gear and AA talents to not get completely crushed by the bosses there.
The questing are is a great way to farm MoAs very quickly but you do no gain any renown for factions which makes this are useful for people who already got lots of Imperial Insignias to rank their factions up and then quickly gather MoAs for the gear items.
-------- Tales of Hyboria: Shadows of Vanaheim --------
This is the “latest” expansion for Age of Conan. Here you can explore some parts Vanaheim and fight lots and lots of Vanir, however, this expansion got lots of bad critics because it’s simply said: not good. (there was also the misconception that you would get it for free as a anniversary present but that was not the case).
Playfields in this expansion scale with the player’s level, that means you can do this instance on level 80 as well as a level 20 character. There is also a HM version, once you reached a specific rank you can buy an item that grants you a buff and lets you activate the HM version once entering.
Mostly, the instances are done solo, but you can also do it with 3 people in a group, I did not try that out yet, but as far as I know there is no difference between doing it solo or as a group.
The repeatable quest line in this expansion will lead you through the individual playfields.
- Conall’s Valley at night, enemies scale with the player, it’s simply Conall’s Valley at night with different NPCs
- Blue mountains, a small snowy mountain area
- Fort Storisbjorn, the fortress of a vanir chieftain, there is an outside area as well as an inside dungeon where you need to fight the endboss
-------- Quests --------
There is one repeatable main quest line that starts once you right clicked the scroll item that comes from your claim window. This quest rewards you with a little totem that increases your renown at the Clan Vigdis faction as well as 2 Rare Trophies.
By progressing through the main quest you can accept several side quests that seem to be random (the same quest giver can give you multiple different ones), most of them can be done while doing the main quest, some others need a little more effort to be done, like searching for items or going to outside camps somewhere on a playfield.
A lot of the quests are really easy and probably just exist to strecht the content, killing 125 Vanir is… nothing that I find interesting and challanging.
However, all of the quests reward you with one (or more) of the totem items that increase your rank at the faction (when used, they are consumable items).
-------- Factions --------
As already mentioned, there is one faction: Clan Vigdis. You can only gain renown using the totem items you gain from quests in this expansion, killing Vanir, unlike Khitai for factions, does not increase your renown.
There is not much to say about this faction since you basically get to know the whole story line if you did the main quest once, there are no quests that you unlock like in Khitai, the faction simply acts as a restriction to what items you can buy from the vendors.
-------- Clan Vigdis Gear and faction mounts --------
In Conarch near the traveler (that brings you to Atzels Approach and so on) are the vendors for the Clan Vigdis faction (as well as the guy that brings you into the expansion instance), three different faction vendors sell several things. There is one for faction armor, here you can buy epic low level chest armor, you need rank 2 at the faction but these items are not bound when picked up, that means you can sell them to other palyers. This vendor also sells blue faction armor pieces (for level 80), pants and wrist armor, they are not really good but not that bad either, still, they are kinda useless since you get khitai gear so easily. The important items from this vendor are probably the rings, they are better than T4 rings but require you to be rank 4 in the faction and cost a huge amount of Rare Trophies and MoAs. To be honest - the farm isn’t worth it. Rings from the Raidfinder or from the Chaos dungeon are far better and easier (faster) to get.
The second merchant sells mounts, bears. Yes, you read it right, you can ride bears with armor. They provide some resistance against CCs and some additional health but other than that they function like a normal mount, the merchant sells different tiers of bears, simple ones up to epic ones that have a special armor, they cost MoAs or / and Rare Trophies.
The last merchant sells some social armor pieces, helmets and cloaks as well as some tattoos. Here you can also buy the HM trigger item (war horn) and the totem items that grant renown but in order to buy them you need to have at least one character at rank 4 of this faction.
-------- Difficulty of this expansion --------
The difficulty level of this expansion is not high, the NM version is very easy, enemies are only level 80 (if you are level 80), the HM version pushes them up to 85 where they become rather “annoying” instead of harder.
Most of the time you will be fighting “trash mobs”, no mechanics, no interesting stuff to do, just grinding. Since in the HM version the enemies got additional HP and damage but gain no new mechanics, they simply become annoying, interrupting your spells constantly (I don’t know why that happens so often when fighting these Vanir enemies here but Black Legion soldiers in Paikang don’t interrupt me as often even though they are at the same level) and you need to kill so many of them… I really don’t know what else I can say about this.
Even the bosses got no interesting mechanics (mostly use the same as the trash mobs do), only the last boss needs you to pay a little bit of attention.
-------- Conclusion --------
There is not much to say about this in my opinion. Buy it if you want more achievement points (special titles and so on if you are one of those who like to complete it) and like killing masses of Vanir - however, if you are looking for a challange and good items don’t bother looking here, you will probably only find yourself disappointed.
The rings got good stats but they are far inferior to the RF rings or the rings from Chaos, their high price makes it even more useless to farm them (1000 MoAs and 160 Rare Trophies), using a Khitai ring until you get the RF / Chaos rings is a lot easier (I actually do not want to encourage RF farming but really… farming RF is probably more exiting than killing Vanir enemies solo the whole time).
People criticized this expansion a lot, not only because of this bad misconception about the price when it was released but also about the fact that it was poorly made, there is no love to details in it if you compare it to other expansions, lots of bugs and other “bad quality” signs that show that this expansion was quickly made.
I personally wouldn’t buy this expansion again, it doesn’t add anything I need, only a really long and awful grind that I really dislike.