- 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.
- Some levels may offer more rewards than others.
- 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. – 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. – 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. – 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.
- On release the developers anticipate max level should be attainable in approximately 45 days if playing 4-6 hours per day.
- Alpha-1 had progression to level 15.
- Alpha-2 expects progression to level 35 (subject to change).
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.
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 you know 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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).
- Experience gained from quest rewards is not shared with other party members.
- Experience will be awarded for participating in objective-based PvP on a diminishing returns basis.
- 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
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. – Jeffrey Bard
We want the game to be a living game, which means that all content should be relevant at all times. I’d say that we try to make as little distinction between the leveling up experience and the end game experience as possible. The whole journey is important to us, in order to maximize the fun people have during different stages of the game. – Sarah Flanagan
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- There will be no "grindy" quests.
- There will not be repetitive quest lines through a single dungeon to obtain gear.
- The aspiration is to have more things to do in the game than a player has time to do.
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.
- Certain node buildings and organizations offer quests that can be initiated by a mentor to assist new players. Rewards are offered to both the mentor and the mentee upon completion.
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. – 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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.
- The player can then augment their primary skills with effects from their secondary archetype.
- 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.
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.
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.
- Portions of the spawn tables (for mobs and resources) are static and other portions are dynamic and adapt to node development.
- 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. – 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.
- 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. – 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. – Steven Sharif
- Certain elite monsters that are not assigned any to any particular hunting ground roam throughout the world. Other mobs will have leashes that will cause the mob to reset if it moves too far from its point of origin.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Rested experience allows players to gain experience at a faster rate for a period of time.
- Combat pets will incorporate some of their owner's power in a way that keeps the power progression horizontal.
- Power is delegated to the pet when it is summoned and returned to the player immediately when the pet despawns.
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. – Steven Sharif
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- Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 2017-04-13.
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