- A player chooses their primary archetype at the start of the game.
- Players receive skill points as they level. These can be used to level up skills within their skill tree.
- It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.
- A player may choose a secondary archetype when they reach level 25. The combination of primary and secondary archetypes is referred to as a class.
- World events do not directly impact class effectiveness but there may be ancillary effects in terms of availability of equipment, enchantments or tattoos.
Classes by archetype combination
- 1v1 matchups will have a rock-paper-scissors dynamic, where one class will be superior to another.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Alpha-2 testing will begin to focus on balancing once populations and encounters have been put in place and are deep in testing.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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.
- 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. – 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. – 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. – Steven Sharif
Synergies exist between class skills, weapon skills, passive skills, proc effects, and status conditions. These synergies also apply to active skills from other characters.
- 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. – 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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.
- Different challenges are presented dynamically to players based on node progression and destruction. Situations that are based on a rock-paper-scissors design will inspire a horizontal gear chase. These dynamic challenges will change from month to month, causing a shift in demand in the economy as different builds are required by the new content.
- Increasing difficulty ratings inspire more of a traditional vertical power progression that is common in other MMOs.
- 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. – 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.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- A player may choose a secondary archetype when they reach level 25. The player can then augment their primary skills with effects from their secondary archetype.
- Outside of class-specific skills there may be a subset of universal skills, such as active block and dodge.
- Class skills are not affected by the type of weapon that is equipped.
A player may choose a secondary archetype when they reach level 25. Each secondary archetype offers four different schools of augmentation. Each augment school affects a primary archetype's skills in different ways.
- For example: A Mage offers Teleportation and elemental schools of augments. These augments will affect a Fighter's primary skills differently than a Cleric's.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- The player can then augment their primary skills with effects from their secondary archetype.
- 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.
- Each skill in the primary tree will have several augment options from the secondary tree. This is an example of horizontal progression.
- 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.
- Augments do not cost skill points. It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Secondary archetype augments allow different aesthetics to apply to primary abilities that reflect the secondary archetype selection.
Class resources are generated by certain class abilities based on specific criteria. The current design approach is for every archetype to have its own resource, in addition to Mana, which is universal across all archetypes.
Players receive skill points at specific points as they level. These can be used to level up skills (increase their rank) within their active, passive or combat/weapon skill trees.
- 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.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.
- 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.
- Players are able to reset and reallocate their skill points.
- Augments do not cost skill points. It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- The developers will be testing the use of separate energy mechanics for universal skills in Alpha-2.
- Universal skill progression may align with a player's passive skill tree.
- Outside of your class-specific skill tree, there's going to be a subsection of a few skills that are universal, like active block, like dodge; and I think what we're going to do- or at least what we're going to be discussing here- is those universal skills will have progressions that might align with your passive tree; and you can spec skill points into progressing additional features of those universal abilities that you will have access to. So I think that's probably going to be the direction that we're going to take. – Steven Sharif
- Secondary archetypes.
- Social organization augments.
- Religious progression.
- Racial augments.
- Q: There are 32 augment schools, not including racial/social/religious augments, meaning a total of 8960 (280 spells * 32 augment schools) different variations of spells. How do you guys plan on tackling that, or has the augment system for the classes changed since?
- A: It has not changed; and the intent is for us to design relatively templatable effects conferred by each school of augmentation; and those effects will have a lot of shared benefits that get conferred to a particular ability when the augment gets applied. – Steven Sharif
- Augment effects are intended to be templatable so they can apply to a range of abilities.
- A character can have one active augment on an ability at any given time.
- Augments do not cost skill points.
- It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.
- Secondary class augments may be applied to any skill, but it is possible that some specific augments may be locked to specific abilities.
- The progression system for augments is very similar to the class progression system.
- Drastically change the ability itself.
- Change the damage type and value.
- Change the cooldown period.
- Change the distance (of the skill).
- Change the effect from a ranged to melee ability.
- Augments can affect a multitude of things. It can drastically change the ability itself. It can change the damage type. It can change the cooldown period. It can change the damage values. It can change the distance. It can dramatically change it from a ranged effect to a melee effect. Augments are essentially can create- they are creating entirely new skills, but they're going to keep obviously some identity with what that primary active ability was. – Steven Sharif
When it comes to the primary archetype, that is a decision you'll want to make and you'll want to make sure it's the right decision, because it's permanent... You are going to create this identity that you can't just change on the fly. This is going to be something that you will know a person and you will know what their base archetype is and they're not just going to change from battle to battle. So that gives some consistency in the engagements and understanding reputation on the server. – Steven Sharif
When players choose their primary class, it’s not just dictating how the next several hundred hours of gameplay will go... It’s only the primary class that cannot be changed. And hey, that’s what alts are for!
- The secondary class choice, which comes after some time getting used to the world of Verra, will be more fluid. If you choose the Fighter and the Rogue to make a Shadowblade, but eventually want to try your hand at Summoning to make a Bladecaller, you’ll be able to do so.
- We don't want you to be able to change your secondary class or the augments you have applied out in the open. We want you to have to make a conscious choice somewhere at a NPC. The level of node necessary for that particular NPC to be available will likely be either at the Village stage or above. So, if you are far out in the wilderness exploring – and we have no instant teleportation in the world – you need to be conscientious of what your choices are; and not be able to change them on-the-fly. – Steven Sharif
- Players will likely need to speak to a NPC in a Village node or above to enable them to change their secondary archetype and skill augments.
- It will be possible to swap between multiple saved specs after a suitable cooldown period.
There's going to be a lot of shared quests but there's also going to be class-specific quests; and the reason for that is that some classes are better at others than doing certain things and that'll play itself out through the general community quests. That's fine, but there are certain periods from a designer's perspective where you want to make an encounter be the antithesis of what a player is good at. It also gives them perspective because we have a more fluid class combination system where you can play the line in your traditional role by adding a secondary class that's different from your primary classes role. The benefit of having these class-specific quests early on especially in an archetype is that you can come to a determination and have greater experience for the things you're not good at. So you know how to progress your class in the future with the things you have access to that are different from what you're good at.' – Steven Sharif
- Those Quests will be influenced by the player's class progression via their choice of primary and secondary archetypes.
So you want to give them storyline that's relevant and make sense for them to their class progression. If I'm a fighter I should be going to a barracks and learning from this dude early on. Later on if I want to take on that mage secondary and I'm more arcane in the things I do, or more based in the essence, then yeah it makes sense for my also again for a catered quest to me that lets me focus on that route in the narrative. – Steven Sharif
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Although traditional roles are present, players should not feel branded by their primary archetype.
- Skill augments available through the class system allow characters to be personalized outside of their primary role.
- Players can also double down on their archetype choice to strengthen their primary role.
- A defining principle of Ashes of Creation as a PvX game is that PvE builds the world, and PvP changes the world.
- Around 80% of the content is open-world, where healthy competition is an instigator for player friction; for potential cooperation; for the ability to yield alliances; and the political theater that comes with it. This is an intended part of the PvX game design.
- There won't be separate PvE and PvP servers but some servers may be more PvP focused than others.
- We're very clear with our objective and philosophy on the game and we understand that they may not appeal to everybody. But it is an important reciprocal relationship between the content that's related to PvE and the content that's related to PvP and they feed off of each other. They're catalysts for change: Their progression, their development. It's things that people can value when they see something earned and they see something lost. That elicits an emotional response from the player: That they've invested time in to either succeed or fail; and PvP allows for that element to be introduced into gameplay. And we're very clear that is our objective: That risk versus reward relationship, that achievement-based mentality. Not everybody's going to be a winner and that's okay. – Steven Sharif
- Ashes of Creation class list.
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