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 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 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.[18][19][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][3][13][14] This synergy also applies to active skills from other characters.[18][20]

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
  • Certain higher-end weapons have active abilities, but the intention is that these abilities will not radically redefine the way an archetype is played.[24]

Gear enhancement

Gear enhancements are possible both during and after an item is crafted.[25][26]

There is a combination of systems that take an item to its max potential. Players will need to contribute in a certain number of these systems to reach max. Some of the systems are an either/or situation.[25]Kory Rice
The contribution of materials to crafting an item results in advancing the rarity of that item. Now, that doesn't exclude players who don't have the legendary or the higher quality contributed resources from progressing their common item up the rarity tree through enchantments such as scroll enchanting or through tempering the gear. Both of those can affect the quality and the rarity of the gear that you produce, but by contributing the resources during the crafting process you are getting a head start with the higher quality item and now are less dependent on those other avenues to achieve that, which might be again a different vertical space of progression that you don't have as good of access to.[26]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.


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.[35][36]

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.[38]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.[35]Steven Sharif

Mechanisms for achieving the safer enchantment routes would mainly be through very rare material acquisition and boss kills.[39]Steven Sharif

There are two types of enchantments for items: Vertical and horizontal.[30]

  • Vertical enchantments are a power progression for a crafted item. More damage or mitigations, added effects or bonuses.[26] Vertical enchantments include risks.[30]
    It's a progressive tier of risk. At lower levels you have opportunities to potentially lose out on the pluses instead of breaking the equipment. But when you reach a certain threshold, there is an opportunity to essentially destroy the equipment, where you get resources back. But that's a risk that the player takes.[41]Steven Sharif
    • Lower levels of over-enchanting carries the risk of losing bonuses on the item. Over-enchanting beyond a certain threshold carries the risk of destroying the item and gaining resources back.[41][42][43]
    • There may be mechanisms for achieving safer over-enchantments, such as difficult to obtain enchantment scrolls, or very rare material acquisitions.[44][39][42]
    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.[44]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.[30]
    • This doesn't make the item more powerful, but instead more applicable to different situations, and less so to others.[30]
    • This type of enchanting assumes no risk, just time and effort.[30]

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]


A goal of Ashes of Creation is to emphasise micro metas that work for specific encounters, and de-emphasize macro metas that work for everything.[45]

What we're doing with this approach is we're de-emphasizing a macro meta and instead emphasizing a micro meta. And the difference between the macro/micro is that on the micro level you have metas that might form based on each individual type of encounter or experience. And in those senses, yes, there's going to be a most optimal: There's going to be a best in slot. There's going to be whatever that pertains to that particular challenge rating. But there won't we there will not be an overarching meta that says from a macro level, hey, if you got this shit, you're good to go for everything. That's boring, that's unfulfilling, that is not interesting; and it is just something that that dumbifies the experience.[45]Steven Sharif
  • Increasing difficulty ratings inspire more of a traditional vertical power progression that is common in other MMOs.[47][46]
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 fun environment to exist in. It presents a more dynamic situation rather than a quote-unquote cookie-cutter type selection.[46]Steven Sharif
  • The intricacies of how nodes interact with predicates in the world means that it may be possible but difficult to achieve meta server builds.[48]
Q: Do you have any concerns on players eventually discovering a meta server build with nodes due to players heading to specific nodes and regions because they find that content more enjoyable; and if so how would you go about getting players to shift around the world to break up the meta?
A: I think it's interesting if players have a concerted effort across a server to interact with one another, learn from their actions, mistakes, successes, and effectuate that on the server. That's interesting, but I don't believe we'll see a meta form. I think that the intricacies are too great when it comes to how predicates are formed in order to elicit world state changes.[48]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. 18.0 18.1 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:14:09).
  19. Livestream, December 2, 2022 (56:09).
  20. Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  21. Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:10:21).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Livestream, May 31, 2023 (1:12:58).
  23. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (1:13:23).
  24. Livestream, September 29, 2023 (1:15:47).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Podcast, December 3, 2023 (17:10).
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 Livestream, November 30, 2023 (1:38:47).
  27. Video, November 30, 2023 (1:01:04).
  28. Video, November 30, 2023 (59:21).
  29. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (5:25).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 enchanting.png
  31. Livestream, November 30, 2023 (1:54:37).
  32. Livestream, June 4, 2018 (21:37).
  33. Interview, July 18, 2020 (16:34).
  34. Interview, July 18, 2020 (14:22).
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:20:00).
  36. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (51:37).
  37. Livestream, May 17, 2017 (58:55).
  38. 38.0 38.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:15:57).
  39. 39.0 39.1 steven-enchanting2.png
  40. Rng crafting.jpg
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:50:10).
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Interview, July 29, 2020 (15:04).
  43. 43.0 43.1 Livestream, May 5, 2017 (20:41).
  44. 44.0 44.1 steven-enchanting1.png
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:43:38).
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (54:35).
  47. Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:40:41).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:15:02).