When it comes to the base trade skills, you can raise one skill to 300 and all the rest to 200 without needing to spend any Alternate Advancement (AA) points. In order to raise the other skills to 300 as well, you will need to purchase the New Tanaan Crafting Mastery AAs. It will cost you 3 AA points per trade skill. Once you've purchased one level of mastery, the next skill practiced to 201 will "consume" that AA investment. Because you don't start earning AA points until 51, you cannot master all trade skills at 300 until you're at least that level.
The restricted tradeskills, other than spell research, can all be raised to 300 without spending additional AA points. For Spell research, Int Casters (Enchanters, Magicians, Necromancers and Wizards) and Tome Researchers (Berserkers, Monks, Rogues and Warriors) can take the skill to 300 without further AA investment as well, however Priests (Clerics, Druids and Shaman) and Hybrids (Beastlords, Paladins, Rangers and Shadowknights will need to spend additional AA points to raise their skills past 200. Priests much purchase Written Prayer and Hybrids must purchase Hybrid Research. There are 10 levels to each and each level allows you to raise your Research skill 10 more points.
You should not spend training points raising trade skills on non-progression servers. There are "freebie" quests in Crescent Reach and Abysmal Sea that will advance you basic skill in any trade skill to 54 for free. If you're on a progression server, you might want to go ahead and use skill points and train with your guildmaster to help raise your skills as far as possible.
While tradeskills in EQ increase with practice, trade skills cost you money (in supplies), regardless of success or failure. For the more expensive skills, it's wise to stockpile some money and/or ingredients in advance.
When you see mention of a "trivial" on a chart, it means that at that skill level, you will no longer gain skill increases from making the item. You will, however, still continue to fail quite a bit when making the item. Just because something is trivial does not mean you can do it in your sleep. Eventually, as your skill improves, your chance of failing at making the item will decrease, but there's almost always a chance of failure.
If you fail to make an item, regardless of your skill level, you will receive a message "You lack the skill to fashion these items together" (or something to that effect). ALL this message means is that you failed to make the item (see the mention above about trivials and the fact that things can always fail, regardless of skill). Failure to make an item does NOT indicate whether an item is trivial or not.
If you're getting a failure rate that will rapidly bankrupt you, find something that trivials closer to your current skill to practice on. (i.e., don't try to make a silver sapphire necklace the first time you try jewelcraft).
For everything but fishing, sell your goods to other players as opposed to NPC merchants where possible. If you sell to NPCs, you rarely will be paid what the raw materials cost you, much less the value of the item.
When a recipe calls for two or more of a single item, DO NOT STACK the items. Have two (or more) single pieces of the item in your forge, brew barrel, etc., not one pile of two. Stacked items count as a single item! If you put a stack of 20 of an item in the tradeskill container during a combine, the container will yell at you and refuse to do the combine.
As you continue to raise your skills, there are additional AAs that can be purchased to help reduce your failure rate and another set that will increase your chances on recovering an item should you still fail. If you're a serious trade skiller, these are a good investment.
These AAs are:
- Baking Mastery
- Blacksmithing Mastery
- Brewing Mastery
- Flecthing Mastery
- Jewel Craft Mastery
- Pottery Mastery
- Tailoring Mastery
- Alchemy Mastery
- Make Poison Mastery
- Arcane Tongues (Research Mastery for Int Casters)
- Tinkering Mastery (Granted via quest, but tracked in AA window)
- Salvage (Increases the chance to recover ingredients)
The last thing to mention in terms of basics and getting started are Geerloks, Trade skill items and Trophies. These are items that can raise your effective skill level and help increase your chances of a successful combine. Follow the link to read all about them.