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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.​[1]

  • Increasing difficulty ratings inspire more of a traditional vertical power progression that is common in other MMOs.[1]

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.[1]Steven Sharif

Gear progression

In-game achievable sword and polearm 3D renders.[2]

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.[3]Steven Sharif

Weapons have their own progression paths.[4][5]

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.[14]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.[15]Steven Sharif

Combat skills

Basic weapon attack livestream teaser.[17]

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.[9]Tradd Thompson

Weapon skills grant passive skills and proc effects and other status conditions rather than usable skills on a player's action bar.[18] 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.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][4][14][15] This synergy also applies to active skills from other characters.[19]

Our approach is not going to be providing skills through weapons. It's going to be providing skills through classes.[6]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.[13]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.[12]Steven Sharif

Gear enhancement

Gear enhancements (power stones/runes) can be applied to weapons to add elemental or energy types of damage.[15][21]

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.[21]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.[23]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.[25][26]

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.[22]Steven Sharif

Game balance

The way that the systems are being designed from a balancing standpoint we're taking into account how we would like the nodes to change per-se how often and we've designed attrition systems for certain cultures that may have more dominance over others. These are things that in Alpha and Beta we will be testing and watching and making sure that our objective is achieved from a gameplay standpoint and if it's not we'll come back and recalculate.[29]Steven Sharif

Class balance

Balancing in Ashes of Creation is group focused not based on 1v1 combat.[30][31]

There will be match ups in 1v1s where one class will be superior to another; and that application should be a rock-paper-scissors dynamic. We want there to be counter-play between the different classes... Instead it's going to be a group focused balance, where as long as you have the diversity of classes present, that's going to be an equal level playing field. It's going to be very dependent on skill and strategy.[31]Steven Sharif
From an engagement or encounter perspective, obviously we do a finger-in-the wind kind of balance pass, but a lot of that stuff from our encounters team doesn't get done until populations are in place and those encounter designs get a little bit more time to bake.[33]Steven Sharif

The sixty four (64) classes are partitioned into eight primary archetypes. Balancing of active skills only relates to these eight primary archetypes.[30][34]

  • There are four primary groups of augments assigned to each base archetype. Balancing of augments relates to the four augment groups for each of the eight archetypes.[35][36][37][34][38]
Even though augments do radically change the way your active skills provide you abilities, there's still a primary focus on the base archetype itself and not the 64 whole classes.[30]Steven Sharif
We're not really talking about 64 true classes, we're talking about eight classes with 64 variants... There isn't as much variance between the 64 classes as you might expect. It's not like there are you know 64 different versions of... radically different classes.[30]Jeffrey Bard
Certain archetypes are capable of moving the gap between their counterpart per-se. If I am a Tank archetype and a Mage is my counter, I can take a Mage secondary and kind of bridge the divide slightly; and then move my identity that direction ever so slightly.[39]Steven Sharif

Siege balance

There are points of balance that we want to incorporate, such as the defense mechanisms that the defenders have, the types of buffs that are acquired through completing killing the bosses, or capturing control points, the stages before a siege when it comes to those node progressions in the preceding weeks: Those are all going to be balanced considering all things being equal between the two sides. But obviously we're not going to control the state of gear acquisition that one side might have as an advantage over the other. There might be a much better geared team over there. There might be a much better coordinated team. There might be a higher number of individuals who are part of the attacking or the defense. Those are components that we aren't necessarily going to put on railroads so-to-speak. But the aspects of design that we can talk about like the hit point health of a particular wall or door, or mercenaries that can be hired; what's their cost, what's their damage output: Those are things yes we're going to balance. But obviously anything that's player dependent or that has player interaction and activity and determination you can't always balance; and you don't want to balance. Those aspects you leave those to the players.[40]Steven Sharif

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.[3]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (54:35).
  2. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (53:08).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:53:52).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Livestream, January 30, 2020 (1:28:40).
  5. Livestream, May 4, 2018 (45:37).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:12:38).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (53:15).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (43:45).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Video, September 30, 2022 (24:49).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (47:57).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Interview, February 7, 2021 (49:18).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Interview, July 19, 2020 (53:59).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:51).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (1:11:19).
  16. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:29:39).
  17. Twitter - What’s your go-to weapon?
  18. Livestream, October 14, 2022 (18:34).
  19. Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  20. Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:10:21).
  21. 21.0 21.1 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (21:37).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:15:57).
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Interview, July 18, 2020 (14:22).
  24. Interview, July 18, 2020 (16:34).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:20:00).
  26. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (51:37).
  27. Livestream, May 17, 2017 (58:55).
  28. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (56:12).
  29. Video, April 5, 2018 (49:36).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (33:26).
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (59:28).
  32. Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:13:05).
  33. 33.0 33.1 Livestream, December 2, 2022 (1:05:51).
  34. 34.0 34.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:40:17).
  35. Podcast, September 29, 2021 (30:04).
  36. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:05:01).
  37. Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:05:04).
  38. Livestream, February 9, 2018 (41:56).
  39. 39.0 39.1 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (1:01:01).
  40. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:10:52).