Alternate Advancement of all types is commonly called AA. Instead of gaining a new spell or combat art automatically, as is the case with leveling up, players earn individual points that can be "spent" to refine existing skills or add extra abilities. Pressing L while in-game opens the user interface window with all AA options for both adventure skills and tradeskills. For more details on the general way Alternate Advancement (AA) works, see the article on Alternate Advancement.
Tradeskill Alternate Advancement was added with Live Update 61, so that players can customize their tradeskill-related abilities without diverting points from the adventure-focused Alternate Advancement (AA) trees. Prior to the launch of the Destiny of Velious expansion in February 2011, points for Tradeskill AA and the various AA trees for adventuring were pulled from the same pool of AA points. This change granted players the freedom to customize their characters with equal respect for both types of game play.
How Tradeskill AA Points are Earned
Tradeskill AA points are unaffected by the AA slider that gold members (paid subscribers) can adjust freely to apply bonus AA gain for skills and adventure-focused abilities. Instead, Tradeskill AA is gained naturally after players reach level 10 in a tradeskill, until they reach a maximum of 40 points (at level 18) to spend on skill customization.
Basic Benefits of Tradeskill AA
This type of AA provides bonuses to harvesting and general skills that are used in the crafting process. Players who've already begun working on their tradeskill and spent time crafting will recognize the names of the many skill modifiers from the crafting process; most can effect the speed at which a crafted item is completed, boost the chance of successful completion, improve the durability, and more. Likewise, any player whose interest extends to harvesting materials for the purpose of crafting, will see the advantages of adding AA points to boost skills.
When players reach level 90 in their chosen trade, a new type of customization system unlocks and separate points are gained in a similar manner. While this second tree is often referred to as Tradeskill AA in casual conversation too, it is a part of the Prestige Talent System. For more details, see the article on Tradeskill Prestige.
Customization Options in the Tradeskill AA Tree
As with other AA customization, the amount of bonus skill added will vary by the type of skill it is modifying. While in game, you can mouse over each icon and see how much adding a point will alter or boost a skill if a point is spent on it. The next point spent will increase the bonus to the skill by the amount of the base modifier for each point spent. For example, if putting a point in a skill increases it by 2%, the second point will increase it by the same (2%) amount for a total of 4%, the third point spent will increase it by 6%, and so on.
The maximum number of points that can be spent in each ability is 5. The rows are unlocked in a top-down order after a specific number of points have been used in that row, with the most desirable abilities in the bottom row of the tree.
Ample Harvest: increases ground mount speed, adds a chance to double harvest
Swift Creation: increases speed of caster, increases amount of progress gained
High Quality Materials: increases success chance
Rapid Manufacturing: increases progress
Resilient Materials: increases durability gain
Effective Method: increases success chance
Advantageous Practice: increases critical success chance
Trim Reaver: increases rare harvest success chance (with 5 points the max is 1.0 %)
Conservation of Mass: on successful completion of an item, the crafter has a chance to consume NO materials (including rares)