Lyriana finally obtained 40 Velium Shards - EQ2's level 90 dungeon token currency - and I was off to have her very first piece of endgame armor ever crafted. Ironically, Feldon posted a guide the very next day that could have saved me some heartburn.
Crafting your dungeon gear
The boots cost 47 shards if you buy them from the NPC vendor, but only 40 shards if you have them crafted. That's 2-3 dungeon runs worth of shards, which is enough for even a lazy player like myself to go hunting for a crafter to have the boots made. Fortunately, I found a helpful guy who was very patient with me as I didn't know a fair amount of things that theoretically I should have known.
The armor also require a gem that drops in various Velious instances, and this ingredient is still required if you're having a crafter make them. I've never seen the gem I would need drop, and was in for a bit of sticker shock when I visited the broker to see how much it cost when I found out I would still need one. (There's a less powerful tier of armor that only requires shards, but this seems like a bad deal since the pieces cost more shards, are missing key abilities, and will be discarded as soon as you can upgrade them.) Spending 100 plat on an armor component was painful, but in the end the component is worth that much on the open market whether I farm it myself or pay someone else to do it for me, and it's not like I generally spend money on much of anything else on the broker.
Overall, the system is an interesting way to keep crafters relevant in a game state where the good gear is still primarily reserved for group content.
A big deal for a support class?
The thing that really set my mind on farming up the boots, rather than some of the other options (made with cheaper gems), was the special focus effect. EQ2 characters have five "concentration slots" with which to maintain buffs that require concentration. Most classes do not actually need this many, but bards are a buff-focused class and actually do manage to fill all the slots. Last expansion, a raid-only adornment (like a WoW gem, LOTRO relic, etc) was added that removes the concentration requirement from a buff that a Dirge will always want to be using. This expansion, that same effect is available on all T2 and better class boots, such as the ones I just had crafted.
As a result, I've now got permanent leeway to add another one of my buffs to the mix. This is a piece of gear that I will almost certainly carry with me until I manage to replace it with another item that offers the same effect, almost no matter how much better the gear gets in the next expansion, because this makes me better at my class' core function - buffing the rest of my party - in a way that I can't replace by adding a few percent to my personal DPS.
I'm not sure that this type of class defining perk is a good idea for endgame gear - eventually, it gets to the point where late-comers simply can't do what groups expect them to because they have not yet gotten a group to get the unique items they need. That said, I'm definitely happy to have an upgrade that's more interesting than your average +1% crit or whatnot.