Weapon 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

Weapon skill tree

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

Weapon use combo system

A weapon use combo system (also referred to as Combo system[3], and Weapon use ability[21]) is utilized instead of a traditional auto-attack ability in Ashes of Creation.[7][3][22]

Let's say for example you're using a two-handed warhammer or something and you have a number of weapon combos that play animation style based on how many combos deep you go into an attack with that warhammer. So the first is going to be like a forward swing. Second is going to be a back swing. The third is going to be swing down and the fourth is going to be some twirl that you do; and that's what we call the combo animation montage.[9]Steven Sharif
The way that the weapon skill tree works is that at different stages of that combat montage you have available procs that can occur. The first swing might be a small stagger that decreases your opponent's accuracy by 15, that could be a proc that you could that you could spec into that decrease in accuracy- might be a status condition called stagger or bewildered or whatever- and that might exist for three or four seconds. Your second option from a skill tree perspective might be on the swing back. You have some type of tapering slow effect that lasts over three seconds- some type of tapering snare; and then the third step strike down might be some potential one second stun status modifier; and each of these you can spec into additional points to increase the chance that these proc.[9]Steven Sharif
  • Depending on class skill choice these effects will have synergy effects with the combat montage.[9]
Depending on what your class skill choice has been those are going to have synergy effects with the weapon skill tree. So my skill called spin-to-win might do 30 additional damage on a staggered target. So I see when my proc occurs with the stagger effect on my first swing, like for me as a player I might be only interested in landing that first swing, so every now and then I'm gonna swing once and then I'm gonna use a skill and then I'm gonna come back and swing again because that'll play my first swing montage, because it's been interrupted. So I won't move to the second one because I'm really just wanna hit that stagger effect. So that's going to be how my rotation lines up. However I might have some skill that on a stun target it might be an immediate cast and it's like some power you push or power hit; and that does- it knocks back a stun target. So if the target's stunned when this skill plays, it has an added effect of knock down and now they're gonna get knocked down for an additional two seconds. Now I might spec into that and as a result I want to finish through: swing, swing, and then knock down. So I get my chance at stunning that target with that weapon skill.[9]Steven Sharif
You may have items or set bonuses that change at what level those proc occurs. So I may have a full set of battle armor that changes all third hit combo procs to second hit requirements and now I have a chance not only on my second hit to land that tapering slow but I also have a chance to land my one second stun proc because I have the full set that changes my weapon progression. So that's the way itemization works with your weapon skill tree, is you can enhance when those weapon skill trees become available in your combat montage and that can be a relevant factor in how your skill rotations come to play; and mixes with your weapon attacks.
  • Weapon skill choices and rotations will vary based on whether the player is more focused on PvP or PvE.[9]
Right now some people might just say, "I don't care at all about my weapon attacks. I'm not going to invest a lot of points into that. And if I do, it's going to be primarily PvE focused where I'm more comfortable using just swinging my weapon, and I may not use them as much in PvP. I'm just going to be focused on skill rotations." That's okay, but the reason for those skill montages- back to your question- is they have a very relevant role in when certain procs come online from a weapons skill tree perspective.[9]Steven Sharif
  • Using a skill/ability other than a basic attack will in general reset the combo.[19]
    • The developers are considering specific abilities might be able to be used without resetting the combo system.[19]

It acts similar in the sense of the core loop of what an auto attack is so to speak; where typically your other skills have a cooldown period, they have a rotation or whatever: Our combo system is a repeatable skill effect that you can continually attack with but it's a little bit more involved than what a traditional auto attack is; and it has components from a from an advancement standpoint when it comes to the types of procs that your weapon can have during that combo system... It's not going to have the quick time event that you guys saw early on in PAX and gave great feedback on, but it is going to have development with regards to the power of the weapon the type of weapon you're using, the additional proc effects that you can skill into: Those types of things are going to make it a little bit more complex of a system capture.[3]Steven Sharif

Classes of weapons

Weapons 3D renders. These are depicted in the Threads of Fate cosmetic costume but are not part of that set. Models by Eli Hurst.[24]

Weapon classes (also referred to as weapon types and weapon groups) in Ashes of Creation.[10]

  • Blunt weapons
  • Slashing weapons
  • Piercing weapons

Class weapons and armor

Weapons and armor are not class locked, but certain classes are more efficient with certain types of weapons or armor.[25][26] Certain abilities require certain items to be equipped.[27]

Weapons are intended to be somewhat agnostic in the sense that you can find a way for a weapon to be utilized by different classes. Not just the rogue is going to be able to use daggers. Because if you restrict equipment through that, it makes the economy more difficult to have sustainability across the market of items.[28]Steven Sharif
Q: We had stated that we were going to allow people to use any class combination, which would be both your archetypes together, being able to use any weapon. Do we see problems that could occur with that, for instance like a bow tank, or an orb tank or things like- will there be some strangeness there, or are there problems that you first are foreseeing in the future?
A: We're giving a lot of flexibility to the crafters in our game. They get to help define the stat block that a particular item, weapon, or gear has; and that stat block can be relevant to any particular class or archetype combination. So in that sense the idea is, no not to see any strangeness there or not to see any elements that would dissuade a person from that customization perspective.[29]Steven Sharif

Racial weapons and armor

Armor racial appearances in early Alpha-1.[30]

Violet light and myself are wearing exactly the same armor set right: Same stats, same everything, but it drops for her it looks one way, it drops for me it looks another way; and... a small part of that is gender, but then the other part of it is race. So because I was a Vaelune in that playthrough my armor was in the Vaelune style; and when she picked it up it was in the elven style because she was an elf. So that kind of gives you an example of sort of the breadth of looks that we're going for and how we kind of try to capture like who you are as as a character and kind of allow you to kind of build your look that way.[31]Jeffrey Bard

Dünir and Empyrean racially styled armor concept art by Keith Kovach.[32]

We have essentially sets that exist across all races; and each race that dons those armor sets is going to have their own racial influence on the presentation of those particular sets. So that's something that's unique in how each of the races get diversified.[33]Steven Sharif

Weapons and armor are not race locked, but armor will take on a racial appearance.[33][34][35]

The customization of equipment per race is really focused on Armor sets not Weapon props. Weapon props will, from a model standpoint, will translate pretty one-to-one across the races.[36]Steven Sharif
Let's say for example you have the Eagle set or something, right: The Eagle set has in art, it has a thematic design that's going to include certain attachments to the armor. It's going to include color palette and theme. It's going to have some aspects to it that define it as the Eagle set, right. When a Elf wears the Eagle set or when an Orc wears the Eagle set, you obviously have two different cultures there; and you don't want to stomp out that culture by assigning a de facto 'This is the Eagle set and this is how it looks on everybody.' What we want to have is cultural influences play a role in showing how that set looks.[36]Steven Sharif
When you say, what if I'm an Orc but want to look like an Elf and I want my Eagle set to be the Elf representation? Well the issue becomes there that you know Orcs have a different organic model. You know, their body is different than that of the Elf. So, from a scope-creep standpoint, it's one thing to add different influences that represent the cultures that are donning the armor; it's another thing to adapt each influence as a matrix that can be worn pretty much by everything. From a scope perspective, that's a very difficult task for the character artists to kind of tackle. So instead what we've done is, in order to facilitate a variety of cultural representation between the races but allow for the sharing of assets like different armor sets, we give different representations of those armor sets to each race.[38]Steven Sharif

Gear enhancement

Gear enhancements (power stones/runes) can be applied to weapons to add elemental or energy types of damage.[14][39]

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.[39]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.[41]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.[43][44]

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.[40]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.[43]Steven Sharif

Mechanisms for achieving the safer enchantment routes would mainly be through very rare material acquisition and boss kills.[47]Steven Sharif

There are two types of enchantments for items: Vertical and horizontal.[48]

  • Vertical enchantments are a power progression for a crafted item. More damage or mitigations, added effects or bonuses. Vertical enchantments include risks. [48]
    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.[50]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.[51][52]
    • There will be mechanisms for achieving safer enchantments, such as difficult to obtain enchantment scrolls, or very rare material acquisitions.[50][47][51]
    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.[51]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.[48]
    • This doesn't make the item more powerful, but instead more applicable to different situations, and less so to others.[48]
    • This type of enchanting assumes no risk, just time and effort.[48]

Legendary items

There is a small RNG chance of looting rare and legendary items or crafting materials from mobs based on the level, status and type of mob. This also applies to harvesting resources with a gathering profession.[53]

At each stage from Gatherer to Processor to Crafter you are required to have certain prerequisites before those elite types of materials can be essentially gathered, processed, or crafted.[55]Steven Sharif

The amount of effort needed and interdependencies across the different types of players – between raiders and PvPers and crafters and even role players and the taverns and businesses: the processors and gatherers – all of those systems will likely have a component that lends toward creating or crafting that legendary item... We want to stay away from the highly RNGd system, and instead take our multiple progression paths that we are offering the players and put the construction components for achieving these legendary items within them so it encourages communities to work together because it's going to be difficult for just one person by themselves to gather everything. Not to say that they couldn't in an economic sense, by buying those components, that's possible. But achieving them from a time investment standpoint we want it to be considerably less RNG focussed.[56]Steven Sharif

Certain legendary items may be limited to one per server at any given time.[59][60]

  • If the player character leaves the server then the item will become available for acquisition through whatever means it was acquired previously.[59]

There are absolutely legendary items and they're not items that are attained easily nor are they granted out in a volume. There might even be items that are single items that will exist on the server at any given time.[60]

A legendary weapon is easily distinguished by its visual appearance.[56]

It will be a very ornate and detailed weapon, more so than any other weapon or piece of equipment in the game. It will also include some awesome looking effects that won't too gaudy, you know they won't be too bright and shiny so that it doesn't look good, but they will be subtle and people will notice it and know wow that guy has this weapon.[56]Steven Sharif

Legendary items are not intended to be temporary.[61]

The fact there is only one of them... or very very few of them depending on what it is. I think that in and of itself is a balance component right and you need to make sure that the players who are striving for those legendary things and who are devoting the time energy, resources in order to achieve them are accurately rewarded... We do not intend on having legendary items that are temporary.[61]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.

Discovery of legendary items will unlock further chapters of the Lore.[63]

See also


  1. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (53:08).
  2. Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:53:52).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 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 7.3 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (43:45).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Video, September 30, 2022 (24:49).
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (47:57).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 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. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:10:21).
  20. Twitter - Take a look at our new basic weapon attack combos!
  21. Livestream, January 18, 2018 (22:46).
  22. steven-auto-attack-definition.png
  23. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:19:17).
  24. Livestream, August 27, 2021 (1:04:30).
  25. weapon augments.png
  26. class weapons.png
  27. Livestream, February 9, 2018 (47:05).
  28. Livestream, May 4, 2018 (45:37).
  29. Livestream, June 30, 2022 (55:31).
  30. Video, September 30, 2020 (2:44).
  31. Livestream, September 30, 2020 (47:47).
  32. Livestream, July 26, 2019 (54:06).
  33. 33.0 33.1 Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
  34. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (44:11).
  35. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (20:46).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Podcast, August 4, 2018 (53:43).
  37. Livestream, October 28, 2022 (1:41:06).
  38. 38.0 38.1 Podcast, August 4, 2018 (55:17).
  39. 39.0 39.1 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (21:37).
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:15:57).
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 41.4 Interview, July 18, 2020 (14:22).
  42. Interview, July 18, 2020 (16:34).
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:20:00).
  44. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (51:37).
  45. Livestream, May 17, 2017 (58:55).
  46. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (56:12).
  47. 47.0 47.1 steven-enchanting2.png
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 48.4 enchanting.png
  49. Rng crafting.jpg
  50. 50.0 50.1 steven-enchanting1.png
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Interview, July 29, 2020 (15:04).
  52. Livestream, May 5, 2017 (20:41).
  53. Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:00:15).
  54. Interview, July 19, 2020 (8:43).
  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 55.3 55.4 Interview, July 20, 2020 (21:57).
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 56.3 Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (55:49).
  57. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (46:08).
  58. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:02:06).
  59. 59.0 59.1 Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:15:02).
  60. 60.0 60.1 Livestream, May 15, 2017 (38:08).
  61. 61.0 61.1 Livestream, July 9, 2018 (25:34).
  62. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (51:49).
  63. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (44:18).