Focus Effects in Everquest
Focus Effects start to commonly appear on different pieces of gear in the Velious expansion pack but can be found on other items (like Black Alloy Medallion) as early as Classic EQ. In summary Focus Effects give you huge benefits and are one of the most important upgrades you can get for your character while leveling. Some Focus Effects give you a percentage damage boost for Fire, Ice, Magic or other spell elements while other Focus Effects increase the range of Beneficial or Detrimental Spells.
In the early days of Everquest you have to go out of your way to find Focuses for your character's and in some cases you're forced to use a crappy piece of gear just for the Focus it has on it. As the expansion packs start to go on though Focus Effects start to become added to each and every single piece of gear that drops. Depending on what class the piece of gear is meant for will determine the focus effect that's on it but the focuses stay pretty consistent.
I've included a list of many of the different focus effects and which piece of gear they usually appear on. This list isn't complete but it summarizes up about 95% of the gear in Everquest.
Helm - Faerune (Night Vision)
Earring - Increases the duration of detrimental spells
Earring - Increases ranged attack accuracy
Earring - Enhanced Minion (Mag, Nec, Bst) it's a rare earring - usually one or two per expansion for group and raid content. It makes your character's summoned minion stronger
Face - Increases the range of detrimental spells (Every face usually)
Face - Increases the hate generated by your attacks (Tank classes)
Arms - Increases your chane of scoring a critical hit (Melee classes)
Arms - Increases the damage your fire spells do (Caster classes)
Belt - Usually nothing; CoTF had a belt that Proc'd a small DD on some casts and Ring of Scale/EoK crafting has added an assortment of Focus effects to belts.
Bracer - Increases the potency of Healing Spells - this same focus is also on Necks... They do not stack (Healer classes)
Bracer - A lot of the time it also has spell focuses for Hybrid classes. Disease, Poison for Sks and Beastlords and other classes have focuses on them too.
Legs - Increases your chances of performing a double or triple attack (Melee Classes)
Legs - Reduces the cast time of detrimental spells (Caster classes)
Hands - Increases the damage of Cold spells (Caster classes)
Boots - Reduces the cast time of beneficial spells (Caster classes)
Shoulders - Reduces the mana cost of detrimental spells (Caster classes)
Back - Increases the duration of beneficial spells (Caster classes)
Neck - Increases your Parry and Block Rating (Everyone)
Neck - Increases the potency of your healing spells (Usually everyone too)
Ring - Reduces the mana cost of beneficial spells (Only some rings - you want to try and get both focuses)
Ring - Increases the range of beneficial spells (Only some rings - you want to try and get both focuses)
Range - Increases your Dodge Rating (Everyone)
Range - Increases the damage of Corruption based spells
As aforementioned these are some of the most important upgrades for your character in Everquest. You generally have to replace focus effects every time an expansion raises the level cap but in some instances focus effects cover a wide variety of levels, Classic - PoP is a great example of this. The way the Focuses are placed on gear early in the game is completely different than later in the game.
Once each class starts to consistently get unique group and raid sets of gear during each expansion you'll notice a different pattern form with the focuses, the one I describe on this page. You'll start to see it happening during PoP but it doesn't take full effect until TSS/SoF era. By the time Seeds of Destruction rolls around it's pretty much set in stone and how it is all the way until live.
Aside from the focuses found on visible pieces of gear you also have a whole assortment of focuses found on non vis. Like the Enhanced Minion Earrings which are added with each expansion. This is one of the most important focuses to get for Mages, Necros and Beastlords as it increases the power of your companion. Then you also have two different Ring focuses which you'll need to pay attention to (making sure you get one of each and not double since they don't stack).
I mentioned it at the start of this guide - there's differences in the focuses depending on whether or not you're looking at raid or group gear. Before I conclude this guide I would like to talk about that a little bit too. I've supplied a screen shot of two different Wizard arms. The item on top is a Tier 4 RoF Raid armor while the other is Tier 1 EoK Group Armor.
By looking at the screen shot you can tell that the one on the top has a larger damage spread than the one on the bottom. It increases the damage of fire-based spells from 45 to 100% while the other one only does 55 to 75%. The main reason the group item on the bottom has a higher base damage than the raid item is because it's multiple expansions ahead. Otherwise, the raid focus would have both a higher base damage as well as higher max damage.
Almost all group and raid focuses work in this same maner. You'll notice that they increase the damage or effectiveness of a spell by anywhere from 40 - 70% while the raid version increases the effectiveness from 50 - 100%. This is why most guilds when gearing new people out in raid gear they'll often give them their focus slots first. The boost you get from going from group to raid focuses is huge.