Gear progression

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In-game achievable sword and polearm 3D renders.[1]

Power creep is a balance issue... When it comes to gear progression specifically, the idea is to create an open market that is not heavily dependent on soulbound items; and having many item sinks and gold sinks within that economy that allows for the potential degradation and loss of assets within that closed economy; and not introduce items from the market that companies put in from a pay-to-win perspective or from a pay-to-convenience perspective that undermines the economy that players have built. That is a huge mistake that companies have made in the past and that lends to the imbalancing of what designers maybe have actually balanced well.[2]Steven Sharif

Weapons have their own progression paths.[3][4]

Q: Are weapons balanced towards a proficiency system (i.e. the longer I use a sword, the better my damage will be), or will it be a normal RPG stat system with no long-term scaling?
A: We will not be using a proficiency system as described, but players will have passives available in their skill tree that will increase effectiveness of certain weapons. Becoming a master of swords will be something that is possible, just not in that particular manner.[13]Sarah Flanagan

Ashes of Creation is all about providing many progression paths... The reason why we don't like the term endgame is because with the amount of progression that's available with the amount of diversity and player agency that impacts the world... We kind of want the weapon system [to] add an element of that as well... You can determine special effects that proc from currently the combo system; you can determine ancillary effects that proc based on enchantment types; you can power stone weapons to add different either elemental types of damage and/or energy that kind of play rock-paper-scissor with player defenses ... and then you can skill tree out how those effects that are granted ... you can make them better you can branch them off into a different direction.[14]Steven Sharif

Combat skills

Basic weapon attack livestream teaser.[16]

Part of the plan with each of these weapons is they'll each have a unique skill tree associated with them to differentiate them, not only in terms of feel, but also in terms of mechanics. And an important thing that we really want to capture in Ashes is the important ability basically so the player can build their character how they want; and that extends beyond just their classkits. So for example, if I'm the ranger I can spec into my shortbow or I can spec into my longbow; and those will be two very different builds for example made specialized or have have a part of its tree that specializes and bleeds that might synergize with specific ranger abilities that the longbow might not necessarily synergize with. Their weapon choice will play into what abilities the archetype is specializing in.[8]Tradd Thompson

Weapon skills grant passive skills and proc effects and other status conditions rather than usable skills on a player's action bar.[17] The more skill points that are allocated to the weapon tree, the greater a player's weapon familiarity. This influences things like the number of attacks, attack speed, and increased chances of proc effects from carrying out basic attacks with that weapon. These procs may offer synergy with the player's active skills.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][3][13][14] This synergy also applies to active skills from other characters.[18]

Our approach is not going to be providing skills through weapons. It's going to be providing skills through classes.[5]Steven Sharif
Let's say a dagger has some slashing effects that bleed the target or that cripple the target... Every time you attack you have a chance to proc that effect. That effect then can synergize with what your active skills tree has available to it. So let's say your backstab deals 30 additional damage to a bleeding target. If you attack with your main weapon first and the target gets the bleed proc off and you do your backstab skill then you're synergizing your effects.[12]Steven Sharif
Let's say backstab that you can apply to deals damage to the target and it'll have a conditional modifier on that damage if you're behind the target, and it'll have a conditional modifier deal additional 50 damage if the target is under a bleed effect. So you want to synergize essentially your weapon proc conditions with your active skills so that you're timing your certain active skills appropriately with the status conditions that the target has taken.[11]Steven Sharif

Gear enhancement

Gear enhancements (power stones/runes) can be applied to weapons to add elemental or energy types of damage.[14][20]

We are very likely going to have a rune system and then we'll have the ability to sort of enchant weapons outside of that too... That's not always going to be like a vertical progression... Some of it's going to be giving up something to get something else; so maybe I do less physical damage but more magical damage, that kind of thing.[20]Jeffrey Bard

It's not as though you're going to necessarily acquire these once and then you're set for your PvP enchantments, but instead you'll have to continually perform month after month in order to keep having those slotted enchantments.[22]Steven Sharif


Enchanting is not an artisan profession in its own right. Scribes create scrolls that can be utilized by different professions to create enchantments relating to that profession.[24][25]

You don't really push a particular item's level requirement or the identity of that item. You can enhance it, you can add enchantments to it, but it's still the item it is.[21]Steven Sharif


A few different professions participate in the creation of enchantment scrolls. Those enchantment scrolls are primarily going to be interfaced on the profession side with scribe, but once that scroll is created then it's in the hands of the open economy and players may utilize them to enchant weapons and stuff.[24]Steven Sharif

Mechanisms for achieving the safer enchantment routes would mainly be through very rare material acquisition and boss kills.[28]Steven Sharif

There are two types of enchantments for items: Vertical and horizontal.[29]

  • Vertical enchantments are a power progression for a crafted item. More damage or mitigations, added effects or bonuses. Vertical enchantments include risks. [29]
    Personally, I am fine with RNG in enchantment, so long as there are special ways to mitigate the RNG with investment, to a degree. For example, difficult to obtain enchantment scrolls that insure enchantment efforts, and including a buffer of safe enchantment in earlier pluses.[31]Steven Sharif
    • Over-enchanting items comes with a potential risk that the item decays or is destroyed if a safety margin is exceeded. This system is subject to testing.[32][33]
    • There will be mechanisms for achieving safer enchantments, such as difficult to obtain enchantment scrolls, or very rare material acquisitions.[31][28][32]
    When it comes to over-enchanting things, what we're going to do likely is have a safety- and this is something obviously it needs to be tested- but we're going to have a safety period of enchantment you know like in Lineage 2 I think you could enchant plus four or something. And so we're gonna have a similar system where you can enchant safely and then when you start to take risks, that percentage of potentially damaging your item either through the decay system or completely disabling it through the destruction system will be a risk that's present.[32]Steven Sharif
  • Horizontal enchantments are more situational. For example: I'd like my sword to do force damage instead of holy damage because the monsters I tend to fight are incorporeal.[29]
    • This doesn't make the item more powerful, but instead more applicable to different situations, and less so to others.[29]
    • This type of enchanting assumes no risk, just time and effort.[29]

Power creep

The developers intend to limit power creep via item sinks, the lack of gear binding, and the absence of pay-to-win or pay-to-convenience in Ashes of Creation.[2]


The effectiveness of classes, skills and gear is going to depend on the adversary or the encounter. There will be optimal builds for different challenges and difficulty ratings. This design aims to avoid any obvious meta or "cookie-cutter" builds in Ashes of Creation.​[34]

  • Increasing difficulty ratings inspire more of a traditional vertical power progression that is common in other MMOs.[34]

Oftentimes you just have a very vertical power scale and that determines chase, but when you have a variety of relevance across certain types of adversaries and that variety changes over time because of player activity- and then that affects the economy and the crafter system and who was producing what for what demand- and everything gets shaken up. That's a very kind of fun environment to exist in. It presents a more dynamic situation rather than a quote-unquote cookie-cutter type selection.[34]Steven Sharif

See also


  1. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (53:08).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:53:52).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Livestream, January 30, 2020 (1:28:40).
  4. Livestream, May 4, 2018 (45:37).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:12:38).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (53:15).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (43:45).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Video, September 30, 2022 (24:49).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (47:57).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Interview, February 7, 2021 (49:18).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Interview, July 19, 2020 (53:59).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:51).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (1:11:19).
  15. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:29:39).
  16. Twitter - What’s your go-to weapon?
  17. Livestream, October 14, 2022 (18:34).
  18. Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  19. Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:10:21).
  20. 20.0 20.1 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (21:37).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:15:57).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Interview, July 18, 2020 (14:22).
  23. Interview, July 18, 2020 (16:34).
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:20:00).
  25. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (51:37).
  26. Livestream, May 17, 2017 (58:55).
  27. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (56:12).
  28. 28.0 28.1 steven-enchanting2.png
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 enchanting.png
  30. Rng crafting.jpg
  31. 31.0 31.1 steven-enchanting1.png
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Interview, July 29, 2020 (15:04).
  33. Livestream, May 5, 2017 (20:41).
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (54:35).