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Alpha-1 early iteration of the level-up effect by Jim Sanders.[1]

One of the cool abilities we all love seeing and gives us a major dopamine response is when our character levels up.[1]Steven Sharif

Leveling won't follow a traditional linear path, although classic mechanics for leveling exist.[2][3]

  • Some levels may offer more rewards than others.[10]
I think you can emphasize some levels more than others and that's a great way to do progression. But I think ultimately that you should see a reward for your progress or effort spent.[10]Steven Sharif
As part of our ideals as a game we're not going to give boosts away. We're not going to auto-level up a character. You have to spend time acclimating yourself to what this game is, to what the world that you're part of is; and that's an investment- a time investment; and that plays towards our ideas of risk-versus-reward; and I've always said our game's not going to be for everybody and that's okay.[11]Steven Sharif
If I have a skill that does a thousand damage to a target of equal level I don't want my skill to do zero damage to a target that's five levels above me.[13]Steven Sharif
  • A player could in theory level to max level at a single node, providing that node was at a high-enough stage, but it would not be the most effective means of leveling.[14]

Level cap

The level cap at launch is expected to be level 50.[15][16]

  • On release the developers anticipate max level should be attainable in approximately 45 days if playing 4-6 hours per day.[17][18]
  • The developers estimate that players will reach level cap before a quarter of nodes reach Village (stage 3).[15]
  • Alpha-1 had progression to level 15.[19]
  • Alpha-2 expects progression to level 35 (subject to change).[20]

Lower level characters will have usefulness in mass combat (such as Node sieges) that is not directly dependent on their level, such as manning siege weapons, helping repair fortifications, bringing proximity-based buffs to key positions, using stealth or scaling walls. These types of things are relevant to the tide of battle and do not require the player to be max-level or have high combat stats.[21]

The idea is not to be a game where somebody can essentially no life for a week and be max level. The idea is to incorporate some significant chunk of time but still respect the casual player, because the way we respect the casual player is not everything is driven in our game through the adventuring progression line. Not everything is driven through your class level per-se. There's a lot of different progression paths that are available and make you relevant within certain systems and mechanics within the game; and some of those paths are more casual friendly and some of those paths are more hardcore friendly. So with regards to the adventuring class, the idea is to make sure that investment needs to be pretty significant and that the reward then is respective of that investment.[17]Steven Sharif


Experience (XP) is gained through a variety of vertical and horizontal progression paths, such as PvP, PvE, Exploration, Gathering/Processing/Crafting, and Events/Quests.[6][7]

  • Experience gained from killing mobs and bosses when in a group is divided by the number of party members based on damage done by the group (compared to any other parties attacking that mob or boss).[22]
    • A multiplier is then applied that increases with the number of party members.[23] The multiplier is between 1.3 and 1.4 (approximately).[24]
    • Experience gained also takes into account the difference between the party's highest and lowest level characters.[23]
    • Experience gained from quest rewards is not shared with other party members.[24]
  • Experience gained is not affected by looting rights.[22]
  • Experience will be awarded for participating in objective-based PvP on a diminishing returns basis.[8]

Skill points

Alpha-1 preview skills user interface.[25]

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.[26]Steven Sharif

Players receive skill points at specific points as they level.[27] These can be used to level up skills (increase their rank) within their active, passive or combat/weapon skill trees.[28][29][30][31]

  • 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.[27]
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.[27]Steven Sharif
  • It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.[31]
  • 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.[32]
  • Players are able to reset and reallocate their skill points.[33]
  • Augments do not cost skill points.[34] It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.[35]
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.[36]Steven Sharif

End game

Ashes of Creation will not have a typical end-game where content is essentially static and repetitive. Instead, max-level characters will be able to engage with many different gameplay loops that open up based on how the world progresses over time.[37][38]

Endgame to me communicates static. It is static structure. Okay, you've entered this loop, now and this is your end-game loop that you will repeat over and over. Whereas instead, the approach for Ashes is you have now reached a point where all of these loops are relevant; and the loops are present to you depending on how the community engages the world. And it's up to you to identify the most promising loops because you have a finite amount of time and resources in which you can engage with them. And that's then where strategy becomes a part of the picture: How will I choose to engage with these loops to maximize my return, or to maximize the specific benefit I wish to bring in individual, group, myself, or guild.[37]Steven Sharif
Part of the whole experience with nodes is that there is no real end-game, in that the world is constantly shifting every day. Month one is going to be really different from month two; and that's for the level 50s and level 1s.[38]Jeffrey Bard

Event levels

The level of a particular event can be based on the level of the content that triggers it, or it can be set to a higher level in order to drive traffic back to lower level zones.[39]

For example, if the event takes place in a zone that has a base population of let's say average level 25, then one of the trigger conditions might be that 10 monsters of level 25 have been killed recently in that zone and the level 25 event will now spawn additional content designed for level 25 players. So these events aren't always going to be end-game they're going to be obviously appropriate based on the content in which the predicate system is informing, but they also could be something completely top level that is introduced at a lower-level area and brings population traffic of the players back to those types of things.[39]Steven Sharif
  • The more players participating in an event the more challenging the event will become and the higher the rewards will be for completing the event.[40][41][42]


Repetition will not be part of progression in Ashes of Creation.[43]

  • There will be no "grindy" quests.[43]
  • There will not be repetitive quest lines through a single dungeon to obtain gear.[44]
  • The aspiration is to have more things to do in the game than a player has time to do.[43]

Mentor program

info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

There will be a mentorship program where upper-level players are able to benefit from partying and/or helping lower level players; and getting them situated in the game.[38]

There will be activities that are present for higher level players to mentor lower level players. Let's say you have a friend who joins later on and you still want to do things with them, there will be things to do. Will he be able to enter a dungeon of your level and participate? No, because we don't want to inflate or deflate characters and manipulate that type of skill or power. We want that to be something that makes sense for them in a progression standpoint.[46]Steven Sharif
The mentorship program provides individual quests that can be initiated by the mentor based off of what node that they are part of. So these are like quests that are determined by either certain buildings and/or organizations or the mayor; and there are specific ones that are available for mentors to provide mentees; and they can also participate in some of those quest lines as well: Whether that be leading your mentee through a dungeon or providing a location for them to arrive with you at, or escort quests for the NPC caravans. These types of things, when done together with your mentor, will provide benefits both for the mentor and the mentee as well, so you're incentivized to participate with new players.[45]Steven Sharif

Level scaling

Levels, stats, or skills will not be scaled to allow low level players to participate in encounters with higher level players or world bosses.[47][48][38]

Q: Will world bosses scale when it comes to player levels and is it based on players or the zone itself leveling?
A: They will not scale based on player level, no.[47]Steven Sharif

AFK leveling

There will not be AFK leveling (auto-leveling) in Ashes of Creation.[11][12]

We want this game to be played. If there are things that you can do to not play the game and still progress, we've done something wrong.[12]Jeffrey Bard

Class progression

Class progression in Ashes of Creation proceeds as follows:[49]

Zones and progression

Dungeons, Raids, World bosses, Mobs, Quests, Events, Resources, Narratives and other content within a node's ZOI will have a diverse level range; but will scale with the advancement of that node and its racial influence.[58][59][60]

  • Portions of the spawn tables (for mobs and resources) are static and other portions are dynamic and adapt to node development.[61]
We don’t have a strictly level 25 zone. Instead, that zone might have some level 10 creatures near the road, some level 20 creatures deep in the forest, and some level 30 creatures up the mountain. These ratios will change based on the Nodes that inform them, becoming generally more dangerous as the Node grows. All this civilization attracts the attention of Things-That-Should-Not-Be. This does not mean that wilderness areas are safe, by any means. Some may be safe-er, but all will have dangers that even the most experienced traveler needs to watch out for.[62]Steven Sharif
Elite monster 3D turntable.[63]

It's a really big dude and the idea behind him is you're gonna see big monsters- I think that the character comes up to like his elbow maybe, or just beneath the elbow I'm not sure- but you're going to see these big elites just roaming and wandering through the world. They're not assigned any to to any particular hunting ground, they just roam; and I think that component is pretty cool especially when you have an open world where you can see something unique that's not matching the monsters you're hunting in a certain area but just strolls by.[63]Steven Sharif

Goblin 3D render. 3D model by Chris Atkins.[64]

There are going to be different types of "Goblinesque" creatures; and this one has not skipped out on his leg or arm day, which is a good thing for him because he's probably going to be in a lot of fights.[65]Steven Sharif

There will be a mix of different monsters and difficulty levels throughout the world that are tied to the development of nearby nodes. As nodes advance, mobs will present new and increasing dangers that players can participate in.[66]

In the world naturally there will be locations that are going to have a mix of different levels of monsters and difficulty levels; and then those spawn tables relate to the development of nearby nodes. So as nodes develop they'll be changing the spawn tables around them to reflect their further development in the world, presenting new and more difficult dangers that the players can participate in.[66]Steven Sharif
  • Not all creatures are immediately hostile to players.[67][68] Some creatures may hunt other creatures.[69]
We've talked about this a little bit in the past when talking about taming and/or certain types of like creature gatherable resources there are herds that exist out there. There are big game that exist out there, where they're not going to aggro and attack you per-se. Also lower level monsters and certain type of like social monsters may not attack you off the bat.[68]Steven Sharif
We will have flying monsters but essentially what that means is there's going to be rotations either in the behavior tree that might make them inaccessible to targets, or they might do some like swooping attacks; they might come and land on the ground and fight you. But generally monsters are going to be accessible from on the ground, so we're not creating content for the limited number of individuals who are going to have access to a flying mount.[70]Steven Sharif
Leashes are relevant. There's other gameplay implications that happen when you're able to actually move populations around. We don't want to really give that to the players perspective.[72]Steven Sharif
  • Named mobs will usually have a unique character appearance.[73]
There is something to be had there about those types of screen-shake effects. We want them to be present when we're emphasizing certain things, but we don't want them to be a nuisance, or annoying, or too plentiful; and having screen-shake apply to every step would probably be too abundant. Will players have control over those on-screen type effects? Yeah I think so. I think that's something we want to provision as a customizable option for players to be able to turn off, because it can be somewhat nauseating for certain groups of people and a distraction from what's happening in the world.[74]Steven Sharif

Rested experience

Taverns offer rested experience (rested XP) for those who rent rooms or spend time as patrons of the tavern.[79][80]

  • Rested experience allows players to gain experience at a faster rate for a period of time.[80]
  • There are no current plans to replace rested experience with another bonus for max-level players.[81]
  • Rested experience increases the rate that experience debt is paid back.[82]

Pet progression

Combat pets will be levelable and will have gear available to them.[83][84]

  • Combat pets will incorporate some of their owner's power in a way that keeps the power progression horizontal.[85][86][87]
    • Power is delegated to the pet when it is summoned and returned to the player immediately when the pet despawns.[88]

Summoner summons (Summoner pets) do add to the summoner's power when they are summoned.[85]

  • Gear is not available to Summoner summons.[83]

Combat pets, which can be acquired by any archetype- and this is essentially an item that exists within your backpack- you cast the item to summon your pet. When it is summoned it's not intended to be a vertical gain of power, because when you make combat pets a vertical power gain, then it becomes a no choice solution: you must have a combat pet if you want to play efficiently- you must have a combat pet; and I wanted to steer clear of that because the way I wanted to approach combat pets was more of a horizontal power choice; meaning: depending on the type of encounter you're facing, depending on the threat assessment you have, a combat pet might be relevant, or it might not. One combat combat pet might be more relevant than another combat pet and that's part of your gear acquisition, your item chase to attain this more comprehensive selection of combat pets that you can have available to you and can be summoned in the event that you want to engage an encounter with a different aspect of your power curve: Not vertical, but horizontal.[85]Steven Sharif

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:05:58).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Livestream, October 14, 2022 (23:15).
  3. leveling.png
  4. Podcast, July 15, 2023 (13:51).
  5. Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:53:53).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Interview, October 20, 2018 (1:55).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Livestream, May 24, 2017 (46:27).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:11:10).
  9. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:33:37).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:24:58).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Interview, June 13, 2021 (48:27).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (52:41).
  13. 13.0 13.1 Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:34:55).
  14. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (1:06:34).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Podcast, July 15, 2023 (11:21).
  16. Livestream, December 15, 2017 (58:48).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Interview, July 8, 2020 (1:07:59).
  18. Livestream, May 24, 2017 (19:25).
  19. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (41:18).
  20. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (15:35).
  21. Interview, July 8, 2020 (1:12:51).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:22:23).
  23. 23.0 23.1 Video, January 27, 2023 (30:00).
  24. 24.0 24.1 Livestream, July 25, 2020 (44:46).
  25. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (23:08).
  26. Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:12:50).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:03:27).
  28. Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  29. Interview, July 19, 2020 (53:59).
  30. Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:51).
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Livestream, July 28, 2017 (19:05).
  32. Livestream, November 16, 2017 (30:02).
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Interview, July 29, 2020 (54:44).
  34. Forums - Livestream Q&A 2022-08-26.
  35. Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:06).
  36. Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:19:24).
  37. 37.0 37.1 Interview, July 9, 2023 (42:51).
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 Video, April 5, 2018 (40:08).
  39. 39.0 39.1 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (44:13).
  40. Video, September 29, 2023 (12:18).
  41. Video, September 29, 2023 (2:59).
  42. steven-world-events.jpg
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Livestream, May 15, 2017 (26:13).
  44. Interview, August 24, 2018 (4:15).
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 Livestream, September 30, 2020 (1:07:22).
  46. Interview, August 24, 2018 (8:52).
  47. 47.0 47.1 Livestream, May 31, 2023 (43:55).
  48. Interview, June 13, 2021 (24:14).
  49. 49.0 49.1 Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:04:27).
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:05:04).
  51. 51.0 51.1 progression.png
  52. 52.0 52.1 Ashes of Creation class list.
  53. archetypeclass.png
  54. Livestream, May 3, 2017 (50:50).
  55. Livestream, July 18, 2017 (37:43).
  56. Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:31:11).
  57. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (54:35).
  58. Interview, July 19, 2020 (19:35).
  59. Livestream, May 15, 2017 (30:53).
  60. Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  61. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:28:50).
  62. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 2017-04-13.
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (54:26).
  64. Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:45:40).
  65. Livestream, June 26, 2020 (1:14:42).
  66. 66.0 66.1 Livestream, May 26, 2017 (24:33).
  67. Video, May 31, 2023 (4:17).
  68. 68.0 68.1 Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:22:04).
  69. Video, May 31, 2023 (5:01).
  70. 70.0 70.1 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:28:02).
  71. Interview, September 10, 2023 (28:15).
  72. 72.0 72.1 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:00:23).
  73. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:10:12).
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 Livestream, May 31, 2023 (43:04).
  75. Livestream, May 31, 2023 (40:52).
  76. Video, June 30, 2022 (24:18).
  77. jqWtRci.png
  78. Livestream, May 31, 2023 (45:26).
  79. Livestream, June 30, 2023 (27:52).
  80. 80.0 80.1 The mighty beard!
  81. Livestream, June 30, 2023 (1:22:32).
  82. Livestream, September 29, 2023 (1:18:04).
  83. 83.0 83.1 Livestream, November 30, 2020 (1:26:00).
  84. Pets.jpg
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 Interview, January 14, 2022 (42:18).
  86. Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:21:14).
  87. Livestream, June 28, 2019 (1:24:27).
  88. Livestream, July 30, 2021 (1:15:29).