Passive skills

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Passive skills are used to augment weapon usage, armor usage, health regeneration, and passive stats.[1]

All these passive abilities: mana regen, attack damage, critical hit damage, health regeneration, defense mitigation, maximum health: A lot of different changes from the passive side of things and these are based on what archetype you've chosen.[3]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngThis section contains information from Alpha-1 testing. It will be updated when new information is made available.
Passive skill Icon Archetype(s) Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3
Attack Damage Attack Damage.png Mage Increases attack damage by 5.[5]
Block Chance Block Chance.png Tank Increase chance to block attacks by 20% (Blocked attacks deal 20% reduced damage).[6]
Cooldown Reduction Cooldown Reduction.png Cleric Mage Tank Reduce all ability cooldowns by 5%.[5]
Critical Hit Damage Critical Hit Damage.png Mage Increase the damage and healing bonus from critical hits by 20%.[5]
Critical Hit Rate Critical Hit Rate.png Cleric Mage Tank Increase the chance for damage and healing abilities to critically hit by 5%.[5]
Defense Mitigation Defense Mitigation.png Cleric Mage Tank Increase defense mitigation by 4.[5]
Disable Chance Disable Chance.png Mage Increase chance to disable by 15%.[5]
Disable Defense Disable Defense.png Cleric Reduce chance of being disabled by crowd control effects by 10%.[7]
Healing Received Healing Received.png Tank Increase the amount of healing received by 10%.[8]
Health Regeneration Health Regeneration.png Cleric Mage Tank Generate an additional 1.5% of your maximum health per second.[5]
Increased Healing Increased Healing.png Cleric Increase healing done by 10%.[9]
Mana Regeneration Mana Regeneration.png Cleric Mage Tank Generate an additional 1% of your maximum mana per second.[5]
Maximum Health Maximum Health.png Cleric Mage Tank Increase maximum health by 75.[5]
Maximum Mana Maximum Mana.png Cleric Increase maximum mana by 100.[10]
Movement Speed Movement Speed.png Cleric Mage Tank Increase movement speed by 5%.[5]
Physical Evasion Bonus Physical Evasion Bonus.png Tank Increase physical evasion bonus by 5.[11]

Skill points

Alpha-1 preview skills user interface.[3]

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.[1]Steven Sharif

Players receive skill points as they level. These can be used to level up skills (increase their rank) within their active, passive or combat/weapon skill trees.[12][13][14][15]

  • It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.[15]
  • 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.[16]
  • Players are able to reset and reallocate their skill points.[17]
  • Augments do not cost skill points.[18] It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.[19]
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.[20]Steven Sharif

Active skills

Players can build their characters with the active skills they want on their action bar (hotbar).[22][23][24]

Some people like to have a very minimalistic number of hot bars. They don't need necessarily to have three, four, five hot bars that are available; but some people do like that: They want to have all their items listed on their hotbar as well as their abilities, as well as as their mounts, as well as anything that they can essentially interact with as an icon.[28]Steven Sharif
  • Players are not given skills as they level up, they must choose what skills they take.[16]
  • There is no spellbook requiring memorization.[29]

There will be multiple hot-bars that you obviously have available, because you're going to have consumables, you're going to have active skills and whatnot. But the number of active skills are not going to overwhelm necessarily the character and be irrelevant especially at certain stages.[22]Steven Sharif

Primary skills

Alpha-1 preview primary skills.[30]

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.[31]Steven Sharif

The idea behind the system is that you're kind of 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 kind of 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.[32]Steven Sharif

Primary skills (class abilities) are based on a player's archetype.[33] Players can personalize their primary skills with augmentation from a secondary archetype.[34][33][35]

The design behind augments is to not just change the flavor so that it reflects the secondary archetype, but it also fundamentally changes the core components of a skill.[36]Steven Sharif
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.[19]Steven Sharif
  • Choosing the same primary and secondary archetype increases focus on that archetype.[41]
  • Augments to primary skills will fundamentally change the way the ability works: Adapting what the ability once did to incorporate the identity of the secondary archetype.[2]
  • Changing the augmentations on your skills will require you to go to a NPC in a Village node or higher.[43]
  • Some spell colors and general FX change based on augments.[44]
    • Active skills could look totally different after an augment gets applied.[45]

Primary skills in Alpha-2 are expected to be very different to those in Alpha-1.[48]

The ability list in Alpha One is nowhere near what the ability list will be, especially from like a level/progression standpoint. So you can expect it to be incredibly different.[48]Steven Sharif

Universal skills

Outside of class-specific skills there may be a subset of universal skills, such as active block and dodge.[46]

  • The developers will be testing the use of separate energy mechanics for universal skills in Alpha-2.[49]
  • Universal skill progression may align with a player's passive skill tree.[46]
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.[46]Steven Sharif

Weapon skills

Basic weapon attack livestream teaser.[50]

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.[51]Tradd Thompson

Weapon skills grant passive skills and proc effects and other status conditions rather than usable skills on a player's action bar.[52] 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.[53][54][55][51][56][57][13][14][58][2][59] This synergy also applies to active skills from other characters.[12]

Our approach is not going to be providing skills through weapons. It's going to be providing skills through classes.[53]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.[14]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.[13]Steven Sharif

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:12:50).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (23:08).
  4. Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:30:07).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (23:08).
  6. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  7. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  8. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  9. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  10. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  11. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Interview, July 19, 2020 (53:59).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:51).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Livestream, July 28, 2017 (19:05).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Livestream, November 16, 2017 (30:02).
  17. Interview, July 29, 2020 (54:44).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Forums - Livestream Q&A 2022-08-26.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:06).
  20. Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:19:24).
  21. Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:21:03).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:24:29).
  23. Livestream, May 3, 2017 (15:15).
  24. 24.0 24.1 Livestream, March 28, 2020 (1:41:42).
  25. Livestream, October 14, 2022 (57:45).
  26. 26.0 26.1 Livestream, May 3, 2017 (17:59).
  27. Livestream, October 14, 2022 (9:02).
  28. 28.0 28.1 Livestream, February 24, 2023 (53:48).
  29. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (43:09).
  30. toast-keybinds-skills.png
  31. Livestream, October 16, 2017 (1:00:44).
  32. Interview, August 8, 2018 (22:27).
  33. 33.0 33.1 progression.png
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:05:04).
  35. class secondary.png
  36. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:47:55).
  37. Podcast, September 29, 2021 (30:04).
  38. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:05:01).
  39. Livestream, February 9, 2018 (41:56).
  40. 40.0 40.1 Livestream, December 17, 2019 (1:13:14).
  41. class same.png
  42. Livestream, July 26, 2019 (1:09:22).
  43. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (20:45).
  44. augmentcolors.png
  45. Interview, May 11, 2018 (53:15).
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 Livestream, November 19, 2021 (50:38).
  47. Video, September 30, 2022 (17:00).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:18:06).
  49. Livestream, December 2, 2022 (1:05:08).
  50. Twitter - What’s your go-to weapon?
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Video, September 30, 2022 (24:49).
  52. Livestream, October 14, 2022 (18:34).
  53. 53.0 53.1 Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:12:38).
  54. 54.0 54.1 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (53:15).
  55. 55.0 55.1 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (43:45).
  56. 56.0 56.1 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (47:57).
  57. 57.0 57.1 Interview, February 7, 2021 (49:18).
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 Livestream, January 30, 2020 (1:28:40).
  59. 59.0 59.1 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (1:11:19).
  60. Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:10:21).