Leveling

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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]

Leveling: the act of of going out and adventuring, of killing monsters, and combat in general is the most tactile and moment-to-moment type of gameplay that you're going to experience in Ashes of Creation; and I think at every step of the way in that adventure it should be fun, and it should be something that you enjoy doing, and it should be something that's rewarding, and it should be something that teaches you more about the immersive world that you're in and allows you to follow a compelling storyline.[4]Steven Sharif
  • Some levels may offer more rewards than others.[12]
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.[12]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.[13]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.[15]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.[16]

Level cap

The level cap at launch is expected to be level 50.[17][18]

  • On release the developers anticipate max level should be attainable in approximately 45 days if playing 4-6 hours per day.[19][20]
  • The developers estimate that players will reach level cap before a quarter of nodes reach Village (stage 3).[17]
  • Alpha-1 had progression to level 15.[21]
  • Alpha-2 expects progression to level 30 (subject to change).[22] Previously this was stated to be level 35.[23][24]

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.[25]

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.[19]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.[26][27][28]

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.[26]Steven Sharif

Experience

Experience (XP) is gained through a variety of vertical and horizontal progression paths, such as PvP, PvE, Exploration, Gathering/Processing/Crafting, Events/Quests, Grinding mobs.[8][2][9][10]

  • 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).[29]
    • A multiplier is then applied that increases with the number of party members.[30] The multiplier is between 1.3 and 1.4 (approximately).[31]
    • Experience gained from quest rewards is not shared with other party members.[31]
    • Players who are 9 or 10 levels lower than the highest level player in a party will not gain XP.[32][30]
There is a level disparity mechanic that prevents players who are outside of 9 to 10 levels of the highest level within the party from collecting experience through their adventuring.[32]Steven Sharif

Rested experience

Taverns offer rested experience (rested XP) for those who rent rooms or spend time as patrons of the tavern.[33][34]

  • Rested experience allows players to gain experience at a faster rate for a period of time.[34]
  • There are no current plans to replace rested experience with another bonus for max-level players.[35]
  • Rested experience increases the rate that experience debt is paid back.[36]

Skill points

Alpha-2 Ranger skill tree user interface (WIP).[37]

What you're seeing at a high level here is just what you'd pretty much expect of a traditional skill. We're doing something a little more advanced than just like a bottom up structure, because we're being a little bit more free-form in this iteration. This will obviously see more UI iterations in the future, but you'll see a mix of active and passive abilities here. Actives are indicated by their square shape, while the circular ones are representing passives; and one thing to note as well is that these passives are aiming to be a little more interesting than just like, this ability does more damage now, or it has a lower cooldown. We do have some of those too, but the goal with a lot of these passives in addition to that is to allow people to lean into unique play styles. So you'll notice that some of them are are changing your gameplay in meaningful ways; and that's the direction we want to take um player and character customization as a whole.[37]Tradd Thompson

Players receive skill points at specific points as they level.[38] These can be used to level up skills (increase their rank) within their active, passive or combat/weapon skill trees.[39][40][41][42]

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
  • 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.[38]
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.[38]Steven Sharif
  • Skill points can be used to unlock universal skills at the expense of unlocking class-specific skills.[44]
  • Respeccing (resetting and reallocating) adventuring skills may require travelling to a specific location rather than being able to be done on-the-fly.[45][46]
  • Augments do not cost skill points.[47] It was previously stated that certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.[48]
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
  • It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.[42]
  • 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.[49]

Respeccing

Respeccing (resetting and reallocating) adventuring skills may require travelling to a specific location rather than being able to be done on-the-fly.[45][46]

I am still conflicted on whether or not I want to allow respecs on-the-fly. I believe that respecing should be done at a particular location that requires a bit of transit and some strategic thinking ahead of time about the encounters that you're expecting, but respecing your class should be relatively easier obviously with that constraint of being at a particular location.[45]Steven Sharif
  • Swapping between multiple saved specs may be able to be done after a suitable cooldown period.[50][51]
  • Respeccing artisan skills is going to be more difficult than respeccing adventuring skills.[45]

Progression

Progression occurs through a variety of pathways.[52][53]

Having the ability to gain power at a sacrifice... That's a way to reach a horizontal type of progression. It may not be entirely, because there could potentially be a meta if balancing isn't done correctly; but the objective there is to make sure we have both vertical and horizontal progression in the game.[6]Steven Sharif
Multiple playstyles should be relevant and viable. Additionally, you have a spread between casual players and hard-core players; and most of us exist somewhere on that spectrum. The progression path in a society or religion is more conducive to the time we have to play. Whereas, someone else may be playing several hours a day, and they have a better opportunity for the raid/level progression that might require some more dedication. So we want to have these different progression paths available to accommodate the different times in our lives that we have to play the game. And all of those types of progressions will make us relevant in some way shape or form to the general world.[55]Steven Sharif
The way that Ashes is constructed is there are multiple paths of progression from a from a PvX perspective, a wide net perspective that players have interest in; and you're not going to be able to become the master of everything. So you're going to have to pick and choose, but even picking and choosing that gives you a place within that aspect of the world at a place that's going to be something that you can build up a reputation around.[52]Steven Sharif
  • The ratio that various progression systems influence player power will evolve over time. In the early game adventuring level may be the dominant influence on player power. Gear may become more influential on player power closer toward endgame.[57]
Q: Could you explain in detail what you mean by 50% of player power when talking about gear influence on player power?
A: That's just a general allocation of what players can expect to pursue when enhancing their player character power. Now obviously, the distribution and ratio of those types of influences, whether it be itemization, whether it be level, whether it be, augments choices, and/or skill tree choices: those influences and ratios change through the leveling curve. So, at lower levels your character level is going to be more influential over character power than itemization will be, but at endgame or higher levels, or at the end of the adventuring level progression, that's when itemization really gets an emphasis for its ratio of player power.[57]Steven Sharif
The game hosts a wide array of progression paths, and some of those paths will grant additional paths to augmenting your threat generation. This can be in the form of enchantments and stats ... and even in the form of augments granted from societies and religions. Gear and skills choice are also a big component.[59]Steven Sharif

Class progression

Class progression in Ashes of Creation proceeds as follows:[60]

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.[70][71][72]

  • Portions of the spawn tables (for mobs and resources) are static and other portions are dynamic and adapt to node development.[73]
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.[74]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.[75][28]

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.[75]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.[28]Jeffrey Bard

Grinding

Repetition will not be part of progression in Ashes of Creation.[76]

  • There will be no "grindy" quests.[76]
  • There will not be repetitive quest lines through a single dungeon to obtain gear.[77]
  • The aspiration is to have more things to do in the game than a player has time to do.[76]

AFK leveling

There will not be AFK leveling (auto-leveling) in Ashes of Creation.[13][14]

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.[14]Jeffrey Bard

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:05:58).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Livestream, October 14, 2022 (23:15).
  3. leveling.png
  4. Livestream, October 31, 2023 (5:27).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Podcast, July 15, 2023 (13:51).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:53:53).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (1:55).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Podcast, December 3, 2023 (15:05).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:11:10).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Livestream, May 24, 2017 (46:27).
  11. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:33:37).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:24:58).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Interview, June 13, 2021 (48:27).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (52:41).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:34:55).
  16. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (1:06:34).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Podcast, July 15, 2023 (11:21).
  18. Livestream, December 15, 2017 (58:48).
  19. 19.0 19.1 Interview, July 8, 2020 (1:07:59).
  20. Livestream, May 24, 2017 (19:25).
  21. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (41:18).
  22. Livestream, December 19, 2023 (1:41:54).
  23. Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:24:21).
  24. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (15:35).
  25. Interview, July 8, 2020 (1:12:51).
  26. 26.0 26.1 Livestream, May 31, 2023 (43:55).
  27. Interview, June 13, 2021 (24:14).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Video, April 5, 2018 (40:08).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:22:23).
  30. 30.0 30.1 Video, January 27, 2023 (30:00).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Livestream, July 25, 2020 (44:46).
  32. 32.0 32.1 Livestream, April 30, 2024 (1:08:20).
  33. Livestream, June 30, 2023 (27:52).
  34. 34.0 34.1 The mighty beard!
  35. Livestream, June 30, 2023 (1:22:32).
  36. Livestream, September 29, 2023 (1:18:04).
  37. 37.0 37.1 Video, December 19, 2023 (5:29).
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:03:27).
  39. Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  40. Interview, July 19, 2020 (53:59).
  41. Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:51).
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 Livestream, July 28, 2017 (19:05).
  43. Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:19:24).
  44. Livestream, December 19, 2023 (1:49:56).
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 Livestream, December 19, 2023 (1:46:12).
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 Interview, July 29, 2020 (54:44).
  47. Forums - Livestream Q&A 2022-08-26.
  48. Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:06).
  49. Livestream, November 16, 2017 (30:02).
  50. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (1:20:46).
  51. Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:06:53).
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:32:10).
  53. 53.0 53.1 Livestream, May 19, 2017 (51:52).
  54. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (18:35).
  55. 55.0 55.1 Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (28:38).
  56. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:17:40).
  57. 57.0 57.1 Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:36:15).
  58. Livestream, May 12, 2017 (42:17).
  59. Official Livestream - May 4th @ 3 PM PST - Q&A
  60. 60.0 60.1 Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:04:27).
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 61.3 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:05:04).
  62. 62.0 62.1 progression.png
  63. 63.0 63.1 Ashes of Creation class list.
  64. Podcast, May 10, 2024 (31:59).
  65. archetypeclass.png
  66. Livestream, May 3, 2017 (50:50).
  67. Livestream, July 18, 2017 (37:43).
  68. Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:31:11).
  69. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (54:35).
  70. Interview, July 19, 2020 (19:35).
  71. Livestream, May 15, 2017 (30:53).
  72. Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  73. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:28:50).
  74. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 2017-04-13.
  75. 75.0 75.1 Interview, July 9, 2023 (42:51).
  76. 76.0 76.1 76.2 Livestream, May 15, 2017 (26:13).
  77. Interview, August 24, 2018 (4:15).