Brian "Omougi" Ferguson has spilled the beans on Tradeskill Apprentices at EverQuest2.com:
What exactly IS a tradeskill apprentice?
A tradeskill apprentice is an NPC that you can hire to work for you in your house. You will need to be tradeskill level 10 or higher before you can work with a tradeskill apprentice.
Who are these tradeskill apprentices anyway?
The first tradeskill apprentices available for hire will be Coldain dwarves. Now that Velious has been reconnected to the rest of Norrath, the Coldain are eager to learn the advances in tradeskills that have taken place during their years of isolation. They're offering their considerable skills at research in exchange for the guidance and mentoring of crafters from the mainland of Norrath while they learn.
What will my tradeskill apprentice look like?
The name and uniform of your apprentice can be customized, similar to guild hall NPCs.
What if I hate dwarves?
Then there will be no beer for you on Brew Day, and I would highly recommend avoiding Brasse next Fan Faire! But if you mean that you don't want a dwarf in your home, I've heard rumors that already the mainland tradeskill societies are starting to discuss how they could also benefit from an apprenticeship system. So, it looks likely that in the future there will be tradeskill apprentices available from other races. However, at present all tradeskill apprentices are Coldain dwarves.
Why would I want to hire a tradeskill apprentice?
Doesn't everybody want a minion? Like a real world apprenticeship, the apprentice works for a more experienced crafter and learns from them; the more experienced crafter benefits from an apprentice who can be put to work doing research or extra work or other tasks that they would not have time for on their own. Similarly, the tradeskill apprentice in EQII will discover recipes for you. This takes time, but will result in new recipes that you can use to create armor, weapons, accessories, and food, depending on your crafting archetype. Each crafting class can potentially gain close to 100 recipes through the tradeskill apprentice.
How long will it take my apprentice to research a recipe?
The amount of time required depends on the level of the recipe being researched. However, as a more experienced crafter, you can "coach" your tradeskill apprentice, which reduces the amount of time remaining on their current task. So be sure to check in now and then to make sure your apprentice doesn't need any help!
What is exciting about these new recipes?
The recipes will use components dropped from heroic content of the appropriate level range, and will make desirable items, many of which have unique effects and appearances. This will also include some of the extra-cool looking decorations that can be used in the reforging system to add particle effects to your weapons. These items will be highly desired by both the casual player and the hardcore. You will definitely want to use them for your own adventuring needs, and you will definitely have a lot of friends wondering what you can create for them.
In addition, since your apprentice can only research one recipe at a time, you can choose what to specialize in first to carve out a niche that distinguishes you from the crowd. You can choose to focus on low level gear or high level gear. You can research recipes for fighters, scouts, priests, or mages. Perhaps you will be the only crafter on the server that can produce that cool looking fire effect decoration for months. You will need to be specialized at first, but given enough time, you will be able to branch out and cover a wide range of needs.
What kind of unique effects do these recipes make?
All procs and worn effects on all armor, weapons, and accessories produced from these recipes will be new.
Tradeskill Apprentices will be available exclusively with the upcoming EverQuest® II expansion: Age of Discovery, coming winter 2011.