What's an adornment?
First of all, what is an adornment? It's an item that may be added to your weapons, armor, and equipment which then adds various effects and statistics to said equipment. What kinds of effects, you ask? Skill boosts, stat enhancements, procs, crit boosts, and dozens of other tweaks are possible, which of course allows for a good bit of choice in mixing, matching, and ultimately constructing the perfect piece (or set) of gear.
Adornments are generally single-use items, except when they're not, which I'll get to later. Once you adorn a piece of equipment, it is labeled as ornate (visible in the standard tool-tip window when you mouse over an item or right-click it and press examine) and flagged untradeable.
You'll likely want to hold off on adorning equipment while you're leveling, as it can get expensive and frankly the benefits to a low- or mid-level character are negligible within EQII's quick progression curve. Most players should probably plan to adorn their highest-level (and highest-quality) gear, or at least, the gear they plan to use for a while.
Adornments are categorized by rarity like other EQII items (fabled, heirloom, handcrafted, etc.), but it's worth noting that you can use any adornment rarity with any equipment rarity, so be careful. Adornments are also categorized by slot colors, which are again viewable on the examination screen. These are white (the ones you'll use the most), yellow, red, blue (PvP-only adornments), and green (usable on neck and finger slots only).
Now that you have an idea of what adornments are, where do you get them? The easiest route is the broker, but it's not always the best route, nor is it often the cheapest. White adornments are player-crafted and plentiful, and they span the quality spectrum all the way up to fabled, so they're the best choice for most adorning projects if you've got money to burn. Yellow adornments are available from the Elendra NPC in the city of Paineel as well as various Destiny of Velious NPCs. Red adornments are also available from DoV folk as well as Kal'Jeketh in Paineel. Blue adornments are PvP-only and obtainable from battleground vendors, while green adornments are crafted, dropped, and obtained from quests.
If you're confused and overwhelmed already, that's OK. It happens to all players the first time they try to wrap their heads around the adornment system, and there are plenty of tools out there to ease the learning curve. I recommend Dethdlr's adornment calculator at EQ2Wire as a starting point for figuring out just what sort of adornments you'd like to acquire.
How to attach them
Once you have your adornments, attaching them is a piece of cake. Right-click them in your inventory and look for the cursor to glow. Now hover it over the piece of equipment you want to adorn; if it glows blue, select it and confirm the prompt. Voila, an adorned piece of gear! If the hovering cursor glows red, it means that something is incompatible, so check the slot type, the color, and the level as mentioned above. It could also mean that you need to repair the piece of gear in question, so find the nearest mender NPC.
How to remove them
I mentioned earlier that most of the time your adornments will be single-use items. Once you adorn, you should plan on not getting the adornment back, though you can overwrite it with a new adornment whenever you wish.
If you have a lot of plat, you can actually recover adornments by using Prismatic Adornment Dislodgers. These are crafted by Tinkerers and available on the broker. They're single-use items that come in two flavors, basic and advanced, with the former recovering a single adornment from a single item and the latter recovering all adornments from a single item. Broker prices on the Antonia Bayle server at the time of this writing put the Advanced Prismatic Adornment Dislodgers at around 230 platinum each, which is probably a bit beyond the price range of most newbie adorners. In short, plan ahead!
Some of you are probably wondering why I didn't mention how to craft adornments yourself in this piece, and that's because I've run out of time and space. It's also because I'm still learning how to do it.
Adorning became a secondary tradeskill with 2010's Sentinel's Fate expansion (replacing transmuting, which is now available to everyone by default), and like most everything in EQII, it's a deep system that requires a bit of trial and error to fully grok. I think it'll be worth the effort because becoming an Adorner can save you (and your friends and guildmates) a lot of plat over the long haul, but in the short run it's a daunting task that's pretty heavy on grinding and not particularly intuitive. Join me next time for some thoughts on the process and a guide to getting started.
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