I. Quests: Quests are very important in EQOA. In fact, the first thing any new character does is carry out a couple quests that get you some new equipment and level you up to level 3. Start out by talking to your guild master and getting your beginner quest. This will take just a few minutes and will yield you a minor item and experience enough to get to level 2. Then there is a follow-up quest that will get you bound, signed up with your town coachman, and up to level 3. At level 3, you get a quest to go out of town and fight something. This starts your combat experience. In EQOA, quests result in very good experience and it is quite possible to level up on quests as well as combat.
There are really two types of quests. First, every race/class combination has a series of quests specific to that combination. These are given out at regular intervals and gain you useful new items specifically tailored to your class as well as scrolls and abilitied for your class. Some of your class abilities can only be achieved by completing these quests, so it is important that you do as many as possible. It is not necessary, however, to do every quest in order to receive the next quest. It is only necessary to gain the level needed to trigger the quests. Quests are given out at level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, and 20. I am not sure about the higher levels yet. I would strongly suggest that you do every one of your class quests.
The second type of quests are side quests. These are given out by NPC's scattered around the world who are looking for adventurers to help them out. These can take the form of running errands for them such as delivering goods to someone in another town, or of killing specific Mobs and returning items that drop from the Mob. In general, the higher the level of the quest, the greater the complexity and usually the greater the reward. The rewards of these quests can vary significantly from quest to quest and may not always match your particular race and class. One of the purposes of this site is to record these quests so that players can figure out which ones are worth the time and effort of completing.
II. Combat: While it is possible to go all the way up to level 50 soloing your character, your best bet is to form a group with your fellow players. After all, this is why you are playing an interactive online game rather than a single person RPG. You will be most effective in a group if you understand the basic nature of how the classes interact within a group. I'll try to lay out the basics below.
A. Basic group strategy: There are several basic methods of hunting in a group. The first, and simplest, is simply to pick a leader and have him use his tracking to find appropriate Mobs in the area and follow him to the mob and attack it. This is the method most new players tend to use. There are serious drawbacks to this however, with the most serious being that it is very easy to run into aggressive Mobs and end up with a fight on your hands that you cannot win. A safer and more productive strategy is called sitting and pulling. When doing this, the group finds a relatively safe area near where the Mobs they want to hunt spawn. Then the group puller, usually a tank (more on that later), runs out and hits a Mob, preferably with a bow or spell, and runs back to the group with the Mob in pursuit. Then once it gets there the whole group can gang up on it and take it down. This usually lets you only attack one Mob at a time. The third method is similar, and is used when you are hunting a group of Mobs that spawn in the same spots and don't wander, such as an orc camp. In this case, the group sets up just outside the camp and the puller pull the mobs to the group. This differs from the sit and pull method only in that the Mobs in a camp are usually linked and when you usually get more than one to attack at a time. This is covered in more detail below
B. Class Categories in a Group: There are four basic categories for how the classes work in a group. These are fairly general, and each class fills the roles a little differently, but they are still good places to start in figuring out how you should work within the group. It is important that you know your role and perform it, as the other players will expect certain things our of you due to your class abilities.
1. The Tank: Warrior, Paladin and Shadowknight make up the EQOA tank classes. These classes are most able to take damage and survive. They have the highest armor class and most hit points. As a tank, your job is to be at the front of the battle getting attacked by the Mob. You are not necessarily the one who will do the most damage to the Mob, but you are definitely the one who will take the most punishment. As long as the Mob is hitting you and not anyone else in the party, you are doing a good job. One key ability you have to accomplish this is the Taunt ability. Use it constantly. It may sound dangerous to you that you are the only one taking damage, but in fact it is safer. The group's healer knows you are the one to keep an eye on, so he will watch your hitpoint bar and cast heals on you to make sure you stay up. Tanks are also usually the one who pulls Mobs to the group. This is a skill worth developing. A puller needs to learn when he will get only one Mob so that he doesn't train a whole group onto his group and wipe it out.
2. The Utility Melee: Rogue, Bard and Monk make up the EQOA utility classes. These classes are best at dishing out damage and also have some side abilities to other things for the group. In a pinch, these classes can tank for a group, but, as they have lighter armor and fewer hit points, they are not nearly as effective as a true tank class. The biggest challenge for these classes is to manage your damage so as to not pull the Mob off of the tank and onto themselves. Generally you want to let the tank get in a few licks and taunts before unleashing any heavy damage, such as a backstab. One thing you need to do as a utility melee is make sure you are attacking the right Mob in multiple pull situations. You should make it a point to always assist the main tank and attack what he attacks. This is especially important if you have an Enchanter or other class doing crowd control, since attacking the wrong Mob can release it from its spell and cause the group to be attacked again.
3. Healer: Cleric, Druid and Shaman are the EQOA healer classes. As a healer, you will find yourself very popular, because every group needs a healer to truly be effective. Your job is, quite simply, to keep your party alive. Prior to the battle, you should buff the party members with any appropriate spells to increase their abilities. During the battle, your job is to keep an eye on everyone's hit point bar and heal them before they die. In a group with a tank, you can expect that the most damage will be taken by the tank, so that is the person to watch the most closely.
4. Caster: This category actually varies the most from class to class. Wizards are pure damage. You can do the most damage in the shortest period of time than any other class. The key to playing a wizard is to know when to cast your spell. If you cast too soon, the Mob will leave the tank and aggro on you and you will probably drop like a stone before the healer can get off a good heal for you. Wait until later in the battle and then finish the Mob off with a blast. Magicians play similarly to wizards, except they have a pet and get some buffs such as damage shields and their damage spells are generally weaker. Necromancers do their damage through spells that do damage over time, rather than through direct blasts of energy. As a necromancer, you want to cast your spells early so that they can have the most effect. However, you still need to make sure that the tank has attached the aggro of the Mob to himself before casting. Enchanter are maybe the most complex casters to play. Your job is crowd control. At later levels, many players feel that a group is not really complete without an Enchanter. When an extra mob gets added to the group, your job is to keep it charmed and out of the way while the group kills the first Mob. If you are playing in a group with an enchanter, it is very important to know which Mob he has mezzed so that you don't release it from its spell. Casters are also the last ditch group savior. If it looks like the tank is about to go down and the healer can't heal either because he is out of power or being attacked, a caster, especially a wizard, can unload everything he has on the mob and hope to kill it before it either kills the tank or aggros on the caster.
5: Aggro: To really understand how to work in a group, you need to understand the concept of aggro. Mobs have an aggro list that determines which characters they dislike the most at any given moment. The player highest on its list is the one it will try to attack. As a player you can move up that list by doing certain things to that mob or around it. Attacking a mob moves you up on its aggro list, so does casting offensive spells on the mob or casting defensive and healing spells on anyone it considers an enemy. Taunt is a skill given to tanks to deliberately annoy a mob and move yourself up its aggro list, and is thus a very important skill to use in combat. The key to playing in a group is to keep the tank on top of the mob's aggro list and everyone else lower down on that list. If a wizard, for example, starts blasting the mob as hard as it can it is going to notice it and may decide that the wizard is more of a threat to it than the warrior in front of it, causing it to disengage the warrior and run to attack the wizard. Healers must also be aware of the aggro factor of their heals. The mob may notice that the player it is fighting seems to keep getting healed and decide that it is better off killing the healer first and then worrying about the warrior with his sword. This can be even more complex when there are more than one mob. It may be that the one fighting the tank is really mad at him for all the damage he is doing while his friend has noticed the Cleric in the background casting heals and decided to attack him instead of the tank. It is the job of the tank to keep all aggro on himself and keep them off the other players. Barring that, the secondary melee should try to get the aggro onto themselves and off the healers and casters, since the groups survival depends upon the healer keeping everyone alive and the caster is the one who can best pull the group out of a tough situation by nuking the mob as hard as he can to try to kill it fast before it kills everyone else.
C. Attacking Mobs in a Camp: Mobs come in two categories. There are the ones who wander aimlessly around the area and can easily be pulled to the side and killed one at a time. Then there are the ones that are grouped in a camp. Camped mobs are generally linked together and attacking one causes others in the camp to attack you as well. As a general rule, the best loot in the game is usually found on camped mobs. In order to attack a camp, you need to learn how to break it. Once a camp is broken, it is often easy to pull the mobs one at a time by getting them as soon as they spawn. How you break a camp really depends upon which classes you have with you. Often you can pick off stragglers at the camp perimeter and eventually reduce the camp to a small enough number that you can handle an all out attack, but this is really not the preferred way to do it. If you have an Enchanter or Bard, the best method is to assign a main tank that everyone will assist on and then pull the camp and have the enchanter or bard charm the adds while the group concentrates on killing one mob at a time. Another option is to have a ranger or druid cast harmony on the potential adds before you pull. This method requires speed and timing to do right, but can be very effective. A somewhat less effective way is to have a caster with root cast the root spell on the adds. Since root is more likely to fail, this is not the best option. Necromancers and Shadowknights can control the adds by using a fear spell to make them run away. The drawback to this is that if they run near any friends they will bring them along when they return. however, you break the camp, once you do you are in good shape. Keep eating and drinking between battles and make sure that you pull each Mob as soon as it pops and you should be able to control that camp from there on.
D. Soloing: EQOA is set up so that you can solo your character up to level 50. While you generally get more experience playing with a group, it can sometimes be a pain to hunt down a group, or you may not really have enough time to look for a group and would prefer to spend as much of your limited time playing your character. In those times, you may want to just hunt on your own. How you solo depends upon your class, and you really need to experiment and determine the best methods on your own. However, there are several concepts every class should follow. As a solo player, your worst nightmare is getting an add and having to take on two mobs. To avoid this, don't fight the Mob where you find it, but instead pull the mob off to a safe area where you have not seen that many wandering mobs. This way you can finish it off without worrying about it bringing friends. An even better strategy is to pull the Mobs nearby, but not next to, a guard and fight it there. That way if you get in trouble, you can run to the guard and let it kill the mob for you before the mob finishes you off. Make sure you con everything before you attack it. Unless you have exceptional equipment for your level, you are best off attacking mobs that are blue to you than ones that are yellow. Also, make sure you are well stocked with food and water. Solo players tend to go through a lot of hit points and power during the course of a battle, and to avoid a lot of boring downtime between battles, you will likely need to eat and drink after every fight.
III. Armor and Equipment: You can obtain new and better weapons and armor several ways. The easiest way is to buy it from an NPC vendor. In general, weapons and armor sold by vendors are the worst armor in the game, but especially at lower levels they are usually all you can find. I suggest you equip your character as soon as you can afford to, as the extra ac makes a huge difference. The second way to obtain new weapons and equipment is through quests. You should definitely do all of your class quests, and it is also a good idea to go around the town and talk to any NPC who will talk to you to see if they have something for you to do. The final way to get new weapons and armor is though drops off of mobs. Stuff drops randomly off of various Mobs in the game, but the better equipment tends to drop off of the boss mobs. If you see a mob with a name or one that looks unusual for the area you are in, it is likely that they drop something unusual that cna be used for a quest or perhaps a higher level piece of equipment. It is still unclear if EQOA will follow EQ in how it handles boss mobs, but if it does, expect that the best equipment in the game will be located on strong, named mobs surrounded by a group of followers. One thing to keep aware of in EQOA is your equipment's current hit point level. As the items hit points decrease, its effectiveness also decreases. Make it a point every time you head to town to visit the smithy and repair all of your armor.