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Icon Archetype Type.[1] Role.[2]
bard icon.png Bard Arcane Support
cleric icon.png Cleric Arcane Support
fighter icon new.png Fighter Martial Damage
mage icon.png Mage Arcane Damage
ranger icon.png Ranger Martial Damage
rogue icon new.png Rogue Martial Damage
summoner icon.png Summoner Arcane -
tank icon.png Tank Martial Tank

Ashes of Creation has the traditional trinity of Tank, DPS (damage dealers) and Support (healer or non-healer) roles.[3][2][4]

We have our eight base archetypes; and the trinity is a pretty strong influence with regards to the eight base classes. However the area in which we actually begin to play with that line between the trinity is in the secondary classes that you can pick. That's where we begin to blend those spaces and allow people a little bit of influence over their role and whether or not they fit perfectly within a particular category within the trinity.[5]Steven Sharif


Balancing in Ashes of Creation is group focused not based on 1v1 combat.[6][7]

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.[7]Steven Sharif
From an engagement or encounter perspective, obviously we do a finger-in-the wind 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.[9]Steven Sharif

The sixty four (64) classes are partitioned into eight primary archetypes. Balancing of active skills only relates to these eight primary archetypes.[6][10]

  • 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.[11][12][13][10][14]
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.[6]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 64 different versions of... radically different classes.[6]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 bridge the divide slightly; and then move my identity that direction ever so slightly.[15]Steven Sharif

Class abilities

Alpha-1 preview primary skills.[16]

If from the eight archetypes whatever you choose as your secondary, you're going to receive a choice of augments that relate to some core ideal of that class. You know like a tank is about controlling the battlefield, is about surviving. The mage is about dealing damage and elements and ability in AoEs. The rogue is going to be about stealth and critical damage. So those augments are going to to play towards those identities.[17]Steven Sharif

The idea behind the system is that you're skirting the line through these augmentations of your role, right. We have the traditional holy trinity that's present in class designs for MMOs and it's often that those either are not deviated at all or completely deviated from entirely. The augment is to offer a balance between that where you still maintain the semblance of that trinity system while offering the opportunity to customize your play experience towards one of the other angles in the triangle.[18]Steven Sharif

Primary skills (class abilities) are based on a player's archetype.[19]

Class augments

A player may choose a secondary archetype when they reach level 25.[20][13] Each secondary archetype offers four different schools of augmentation.[11][12][13][14] Each augment school affects a primary archetype's skills in different ways.[25]

When you reach the class phase, which is around level 25 and you introduce that secondary archetype selection to create your one of 64 classes, then you'll have a number of augments that you'll be able to apply on a per-ability basis; and your core ability kit comes from your primary archetype selection; and those augments will change the look and feel of those abilities; and some will have the affect to create more darker thematic aspects to it. Or just generally different aesthetics to the abilities that represent the secondary [archetype] selection.[20]Steven Sharif
If a Fighter were to choose Mage as a secondary archetype, the fighter would become a Spellsword. This combination opens up augments that can be applied to skills in their primary skill tree. Fighters have a Rush skill that allows them to rush towards a target; and upon reaching the target, deal an amount damage with a chance to knock the target down. A blink augment could be applied to the rush skill, which would now teleport the player to the target; thus eliminating the charge time on the skill.[19]
  • Each augmentation has a level requirement.[27]
  • Augments to primary skills can fundamentally change the way the ability works - adapting what the ability once did to incorporate the identity of the secondary archetype/class.[28]
  • Augments do not cost skill points.[29] It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.[27]
There's going to be a certain threshold at which you can no longer augment your active abilities based on the decisions you've augmented previous abilities, so you'll have to pick and choose which ones you want to apply the augments towards.[27]Steven Sharif
  • Choosing the same primary and secondary archetype increases focus on that archetype.[30]
  • Secondary archetype augments allow different aesthetics to apply to primary abilities that reflect the secondary archetype selection.[20]
    • Some spell colors and general FX change based on augments.[31]
    • Active skills could look totally different after an augment gets applied.[32]

Skill points

Alpha-1 preview skills user interface.[34]

This is where players allocate skill points into either their active skills, their passive abilities- which can augment their usage of weapons and armors and health regeneration and passive stats and stuff like that-- but on the weapons side of things, that's where you will spec into certain types of procs based off of weapon groupings. So we've talked a little bit about this in the past: If you have a dagger, daggers might have a chance to proc a bleed on your weapon attack and that would synergize with an active skills' ability like let's say Backstab that does additional damage if the target is under a bleed effect. Now we have said in the past that players will be able to allocate skill points into their active skills that are more geared towards either action combat or tab targeting.[35]Steven Sharif

Players receive skill points at specific points as they level.[36] These can be used to level up skills (increase their rank) within their active, passive or combat/weapon skill trees.[37][38][39][40]

  • Skill points will accrue at specific XP milestones, such as 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 progress through the level, so as to avoid creating an imbalance with experience debt.[36]
We do have this concept of experience debt that does accrue and we don't want to create an imbalance between skill points acquired versus experience, so we're going to predicate your skill points acquisition based on benchmarks you reach when leveling through a level. So these are going to be at specific points in the level, like one quarter progress, to half progress, to three quarters progress: you're going to get an influx of skill points and then you'll be able to allocate them into your skill tree.[36]Steven Sharif
  • It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.[40]
  • In terms of skill progression, players can choose to go "wide" and get a number of different abilities, or go "deep" into a few specific abilities.[41]
  • Players are able to reset and reallocate their skill points.[42]
  • Augments do not cost skill points.[29] It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.[27]
Making active skills capable of receiving additional skill point allocations and unlocking additional features so that from a player agency standpoint it's going to be up to you whether or not you want to be more diverse but less depth- wider and not taller, in some of these skill choices. Or if you want to be very very tall, that's going to be something that is up to the player in that regard.[43]Steven Sharif

Best-in-slot items

What is considered best-in-slot is based on a character's role and the type of encounter they are facing.[44][45]

  • The goal is to not have overarching best-in-slot items that are meta for all situations.[44]


Synergies exist between class skills, weapon skills, passive skills, proc effects, and status conditions.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][38][39][57][28][58] These synergies also apply to active skills from other characters.[49][37]

Q: How much do you intend for those sort of synergy things to be done within one class, one character's kit, versus how much do you intend for them to be working with the other characters, the other archetypes and specializations to promote their things, or to also make sure you don't step on their feet and accidentally promote something they're trying to maximize?
A: When we talk about status conditions or keyword conditions and the promotion of those effects, there is going to be the bread and butter that each class kid has access to; and when they're creating the type of rotation with their ability system, they're going to want to emphasize those interactions that amplify or promote a particular type of status condition. So they'll have within the kit to their own interactions that they'll be able to leverage. But then in addition to that, they're going to have keyword status effects that help to either promote other classes' keyword status effects, or are the executed promotions of other classes initial status conditions. And when you think about the intent of the design: the intent of the design is that players are servicing themselves from a solo perspective when they want to go out and solo grind and solo experience and fulfill the quests. But when they come together to form a party to encounter group content, or a raid to encounter raid content: that the interconnectivity between those classes synergizes with these keyword promotions and/or effects; and there's a way to execute on that, that is successful and is effective, or a way that's not. And that's the skill ceiling/skill cap that requires interaction and cooperation and synchronization between, because there are limited time windows in which those keywords can get emphasized or executed upon when utilizing the ability.[49]Steven Sharif
When you think about it, it's very much a musical endeavor. When you think about a symphony or a concert, those instruments working with eachother to formulate this highly effective and very visceral experience of this music chain. When you accomplish that in combat, it's going to be noticeable; and that's the desire, is let's reward- let's dopamine hit when players are effective in their skill when executing on these ideas.[59]Steven Sharif


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.[44]

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.[44]Steven Sharif
  • Increasing difficulty ratings inspire more of a traditional vertical power progression that is common in other MMOs.[61][60]
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.[60]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.[62]
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.[62]Steven Sharif

See also


  1. Interview, July 29, 2020 (49:53).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Group dynamics blog.
  3. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (13:30).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Livestream, May 22, 2017 (46:04).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:40:16).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (33:26).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (59:28).
  8. Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:13:05).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Livestream, December 2, 2022 (1:05:51).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:40:17).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (30:04).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:05:01).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:05:04).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Livestream, February 9, 2018 (41:56).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (1:01:01).
  16. toast-keybinds-skills.png
  17. Livestream, October 16, 2017 (1:00:44).
  18. Interview, August 8, 2018 (22:27).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 progression.png
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:04:27).
  21. class secondary.png
  22. Livestream, November 19, 2021 (50:38).
  23. Video, September 30, 2022 (17:00).
  24. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:18:06).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Livestream, December 17, 2019 (1:13:14).
  26. Livestream, July 26, 2019 (1:09:22).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:06).
  28. 28.0 28.1 February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Forums - Livestream Q&A 2022-08-26.
  30. class same.png
  31. augmentcolors.png
  32. Interview, May 11, 2018 (53:15).
  33. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (20:45).
  34. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (23:08).
  35. Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:12:50).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:03:27).
  37. 37.0 37.1 Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  38. 38.0 38.1 Interview, July 19, 2020 (53:59).
  39. 39.0 39.1 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:51).
  40. 40.0 40.1 Livestream, July 28, 2017 (19:05).
  41. Livestream, November 16, 2017 (30:02).
  42. Interview, July 29, 2020 (54:44).
  43. Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:19:24).
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:43:38).
  45. Livestream, May 29, 2020 (1:33:11).
  46. Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:18:55).
  47. Livestream, May 10, 2017 (14:45).
  48. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:19:41).
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:14:09).
  50. Livestream, December 2, 2022 (56:09).
  51. Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:12:38).
  52. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (53:15).
  53. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (43:45).
  54. Video, September 30, 2022 (24:49).
  55. Podcast, September 29, 2021 (47:57).
  56. Interview, February 7, 2021 (49:18).
  57. Livestream, January 30, 2020 (1:28:40).
  58. Livestream, June 4, 2018 (1:11:19).
  59. Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:16:45).
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (54:35).
  61. Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:40:41).
  62. 62.0 62.1 Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:15:02).