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Alpha-2 Tank preview gameplay.{[1]

As the heart of any good unit, a Tank knows their duty and strength lie at the front lines of the fray. All around them, the battle ebbs and flows with the steady beating of that heart. While some may channel essence to create fire or summon ethereal beings, Tanks manipulate essence to gird their bodies and reshape the battlefield. Against an unstoppable force, the Tank becomes an immovable object, with essence binding them to the earth. Tanks can pull at the threads of an opponent’s mind, manipulating their emotions and goading them into devastating tactical mistakes.[2]

Tank is an archetype in Ashes of Creation.[3]

Ashes of Creation tank will be a pretty classic one: One that tank players are familiar with; and I think that's what people want. We don't need to necessarily redefine what the tank is, but I think we can improve it. There's some things that obviously- you'll have your expected mechanics like threat management and generation, mitigation, control, battlefield control, CC effects; but then we'd also like to see more direct ways of protecting your party members too- exploring, like Aegis, that's just scratching the surface of that kind of thing; but being able to actually actively take damage for your allies, that isn't just manipulating the AI is another thing about tanks that I think a lot of people deal with other games, is they're they're pretty bad in PvP, like when threat is removed from the equation, what am I doing as a tank when players just ignore me? And so we want to offer more direct mechanics that cause even players- or encourage players to attack the tank to make it so that the tank can't protect their allies against you.[4]Tradd Thompson

All classes with Tank as primary archetype will be viable for tanking upper-end raids, dungeons and world bosses.[5][6]

Q: When it comes to tanking, will it be primarily the tank archetypes that will be able to tank, or can other people tank?
A: Other people can tank. It really depends on the setting. If we're talking high-end raiding or dungeoneering and playing in these areas that require a main tank, that role and responsibility lies to the Tank archetype. Now tank archetypes can obviously take secondary archetype selections and they can hybridize across different roles. That'll give them a bit of horizontal utility or horizontal progression to the augment system; and the best tanks are going to be the tanks that double down in that role.[5]Steven Sharif
  • The developers are considering formation-based mechanics that grant effects such as damage mitigation based on positioning of party members.[7]
Also formation-based type effects. For example, there's a really cool skill that we just began working on for the tank, where you have a vector required for players to be within behind that tank that mitigates damage incoming from a different direction. So there's directional-based type situations that require location of players in your party to be cognizant of those locations.[7]Steven Sharif
  • Tanks in general will have some control over encounters but will likely not have total control.[8]
Q: Tanks need to do two things: Mitigate damage and hold aggro. How will tank weapons, shields, and armor balance these two dynamics compared to other gear sets?
A: I think it does so in a few ways. I mean, obviously stack composition and your itemization choices are important. Making sure you're driving up your constitution-based stat allocation through selection of certain set bonuses and/or stat modifiers. But in addition, a big portion of that is not just through itemization, but also through your skill tree selections; and they don't have to be diametrically opposed. The ability to garner additional threat is predicated on your rotational selection and and how you are leveraging certain types of set bonuses that are catered towards that role specifically. So some set bonuses will have specific, very targeted benefits like additional threat generation. But in addition, if you're going to mitigate damage, you need to make sure you're focusing on your health pool: how much health pool do you have available to you? What type of damage are you mitigating- because we have different types of damage mitigation from magic to physical; and that's predicated on who your opponent is, where your adversary lives. Both of those are viable selection or viable strategies.[9]Steven Sharif
Q: What steps are being taken or considered to make the tank archetype viable in PvP engagements?
A: It's important to note that in a lot of MMOs that probably many of us have played. PVP can feel like a slapped on design consideration; and our approach is very holistic in the sense that we take into account the fact this is a PvX game. So when we're designing the class kits, we are making sure that mechanics and designs are targeting applicability both in PvE settings as well as PvP settings. That's very important. There are also special mechanics, like how threat is used in PvP, how taunts are used in PvP. Those things I think require testing, but we have some ideas that will make them relevant so that you don't have abilities that have no relevancy in PvE or PVP, but have some cross application.[11]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

Tanks will have different build options:[12]

  • Evasion tanks
  • Control tanks
  • Shield tanks


The name Tank was chosen because it clearly communicates the role in commonly used MMO vernacular. There are no immediate plans to rename the Tank archetype.[13][14]

From a tank perspective, why did I name the tank "tank"? There's a few reasons: One is that there are obviously elements of the tank role that could be considered as different types of names like, Guardian or Steward or whatever. There's things that you could do that but I feel like tank as a vernacular has become embedded within MMO/fantasy players and they use it interchangeably even if the class name was like Guardian or whatever. I feel even though in that scenario players would still refer to it as a tank like in normal conversation with each other, "Oh we need a tank for this fight."[14]Steven Sharif

Tank classes

Class Primary Secondary
Argent Tank Bard
Guardian Tank Tank
Keeper Tank Summoner
Knight Tank Fighter
Nightshield Tank Rogue
Paladin Tank Cleric
Spellshield Tank Mage
Warden Tank Ranger


Tanks will not be forced to have a shield but it will definitely be a viable option.[12]Jeffrey Bard

Tank combat abilities

Skill Icon Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3
Aegis AegisIcon.png Instantly dispels all negative effects on the caster, then creates a protective dome behind the tank for 15 seconds, transferring 50% of all damage received by targets within the area to the tank instead. All targets within the cone also receive increased status effect resistance for the duration.[15]
Grapple GrappleIcon.png Takes aim for a moment before hurling a hooked chain in a line, damaging the first target it contacts and immediately pulling them to the caster. The target suffers a tapering snare for 3 seconds.[16]
Grit GritIcon.png Applies a buff to the caster, reducing incoming damage by 15%, but also reducing movement speed by 30% and outgoing damage by 20%. Each incoming hit consumes a stack of courage to reduce incoming damage by an additional 15%. Courage can not be generated while Grit is active.[17]
Inciting Strikes IncitingStrikesIcon.png Slashes twice in a forward cone while adding additional threat.[18]
Shield Assault ShieldAssaultIcon.png Bashes the target with your shield, dealing damage and applying the shaken condition. If the target is already suffering from the shaken condition, stun the target instead.[19]
Tremoring Bellow TremoringBellowIcon.png Releases a thundering shout in a forward cone, applying the staggered condition on enemy targets. Also stomps the ground dealing damage around the caster and tripping enemies affected by the snared condition.[20]

Tank passive abilities

info-orange.pngThis section contains information from Alpha-1 testing. It will be updated when new information is made available.
Skill Icon Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3
Block Chance Block Chance.png Increase chance to block attacks by 20% (Blocked attacks deal 20% reduced damage).[21]
Cooldown Reduction Cooldown Reduction.png Reduce all ability cooldowns by 5%.[22]
Critical Hit Rate Critical Hit Rate.png Increase the chance for damage and healing abilities to critically hit by 5%.[22]
Defense Mitigation Defense Mitigation.png Increase defense mitigation by 4.[22]
Healing Received Healing Received.png Increase the amount of healing received by 10%.[23]
Health Regeneration Health Regeneration.png Generate an additional 1.5% of your maximum health per second.[22]
Mana Regeneration Mana Regeneration.png Generate an additional 1% of your maximum mana per second.[22]
Maximum Health Maximum Health.png Increase maximum health by 75.[22]
Movement Speed Movement Speed.png Increase movement speed by 5%.[22]
Physical Evasion Bonus Physical Evasion Bonus.png Increase physical evasion bonus by 5.[24]


Threat (Aggro/Hate) is generated based on damage done, healing done, and modifiers on certain abilities.[25][26]

  • In PvE, aggro against player characters is based on a hate table.[26]
  • In PvP, aggro may force target switching to the Tank. Feedback on this will be sought during testing.[27]
If we think about PVP settings and the role of taunt or hate, a lot of times for tanks in the MMOs that I've played- where you have a PvE and PvP scenario- those types of hate generation abilities don't really have cross application into the PVP realm; and that can feel bad, because typically a tank build-out can be delegated around how I generate hate; and if it has no cross application into PvP then effectively you're creating a class composition that just is not relevant in half of the game, or in that area of the game. So when we talk about how we're going to apply hate to player targets or taunt to player targets, sometimes that can move into the realm of target switching, or the ability to demand that target on the tank in a PvP scenario as well. That's something that we need to get player feedback on, because there's a lot of strong emotions around that type of mechanic. I for one am a big proponent of that. I think it's interesting. I think that it plays into the role of the tank and that it it hits a class fantasy that most tank players want to feel. And I think however on the flip side of that, it is a source of control; and anytime you're under the effects of some source of control, it's going to be a feel bad moment for the target that's being controlled. So that's why I think it generates a lot of feelings on both sides of the aisle.[27]Steven Sharif
  • Detargeting is the act of removing hate/threat/aggro from an enemy.[27]
  • There will be a taunt skill available at higher levels than what has been previewed so far for Alpha-2.[28]
Q: There were a lot of concerns about threat [in the Alpha-2 Tank preview video]. A lot of people didn't understand how holding threat works, because you weren't holding threat at some point.
A: It's important to remember that these previews are done at a very low-level, so these are low-level skills and abilities that the archetypes have available to them; and so because of that, some of the functionality from these abilities they don't necessarily perform as well as you would want them to in a later stage of the game for that role. Now also keep in mind that balance is a perspective that needs to be incorporated also. So, threat is generated based off of a few factors: It's based off of damage done, it's based off of healing done, it's based off of threat generation modifiers that are on abilities. Now the tank in this situation I believe has two abilities that are going to generate additional threat. They have the slicing- the number two ability; and then they also have the shout ability. Both of those are creating additional threat. But with that being said, we need to tune probably those abilities up a little bit to contend with the DPS that's coming both from the ranger and with the heals that are coming out of the cleric.[25]Steven Sharif
Skill Icon Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3
Grapple GrappleIcon.png Takes aim for a moment before hurling a hooked chain in a line, damaging the first target it contacts and immediately pulling them to the caster. The target suffers a tapering snare for 3 seconds.[16]
Inciting Strikes IncitingStrikesIcon.png Slashes twice in a forward cone while adding additional threat.[18]
Shield Assault ShieldAssaultIcon.png Bashes the target with your shield, dealing damage and applying the shaken condition. If the target is already suffering from the shaken condition, stun the target instead.[19]

Threat meters/addons

Addons, DPS meters, and threat meters will not be supported.[30][31][32]

My decision is not to allow DPS meters nor add-ons. I feel we have adequate measures in place to prevent a majority of potential third party trackers. I know this subject has passionate voices on both sides and I respect the various opinions and positions many of you have expressed.[31]Steven Sharif
  • The developers do not want addons/mods to be necessary to experience the game.[33]
  • The developers believe that DPS meters (parsers) can cause toxicity and other negative behaviors.[30][34][32]
What role DPS meters provide in online communities that I've noticed in the past my experiences: they can be a bit toxic, they can be a bit exclusionary; and that's why we don't want the DPS meters.[30]Steven Sharif
  • Threat meters will also not be present in the game. There will instead be visual in-game queues to indicate threat.[30]
Meters in my opinion are a removal from the the game immersion; and what I mean by that isn't necessarily even the fact that having the meter takes you out of the game per-se, but it is- there's a lot of diegetic approach that you can take that doesn't rely on UI elements like a meter to indicate how you should do a thing; and when you're not utilizing those types of meters you can do different types of strategies and encounter design. You can have things that can be more subtle and aren't going to be immediately given away by a meter indicating something; and that's the type of gameplay that we think that I believe we want to emphasize; and for that reason, we're not going to be including threat meters. What we will be including however are animation indicators. We're going to be including ability indicators to show the tank "hey I might be losing aggro here." I'm observing in the world these immersive elements that are not tied to any specific type of UI, but indicate to me that this monster might be moving off to attack somebody else in a very immediate future; and now I should be using the abilities that I'm saving to regain that aggro, or to lock them down with a taunt or something. That to me is a bit more representative of the type of gameplay we want to to bring in our encounter design.[30]Steven Sharif
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 integrations available for streaming services such as Twitch and a few other services, but it's not something that will be exposed through an API just yet.[35]
  • The design of the game API is still under consideration.[36]

Siege abilities

Group summons are activated by a party leader with that ability in their class kit along with additive components from other classes that are part of the group.[38]

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

Up to eight players of the same primary archetype can band together to create monumental effects during a siege.[39]

These are the types of systems that we want to put in place where groups of a single primary archetype can come together to summon these types of effects that play off of what the identity of that archetype is.[39]Steven Sharif
Pre-alpha castle siege combat featuring a Tank siege ability.[40]
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
If eight Tank archetypes each use one of their summon wall abilities it might construct a larger wall that can divide two raids in a moment; and would require damage and block skills and abilities for a momentary lapse of battle between those two raids.[39]Steven Sharif

Tank augments

info-orange.pngThis section will be updated as soon as information is made available by the developers.


Shields are a type of weapon in Ashes of Creation.[41]

  • Shields in the MMORPG grant a static defense/damage mitigation value.[42]
  • Shields may also offer additional value/block chances on a directional basis.[42]
  • Shields cannot be dual wielded.[43][44]


The Tank archetype was released in Alpha-1.[45][46]


Archetype list

Icon Archetype Type.[47] Role.[48]
bard symbol.jpg Bard Arcane Support
Cleric symbol.png Cleric Arcane Support
fighter icon.png Fighter Martial Damage
Mage symbol.png Mage Arcane Damage
ranger thumb.png Ranger Martial Damage
rogue icon.png Rogue Martial Damage
Summoner Class.jpg Summoner Arcane -
Tank symbol.png Tank Martial Tank

See also


  1. Video, January 27, 2023 (13:23).
  2. Blog: Bulwark on the Battlefield - Tank Alpha One Preview.
  3. Archetype breakdown.
  4. Video, January 27, 2023 (19:05).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:12:20).
  6. Interview, May 11, 2018 (51:11).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Livestream, October 14, 2022 (20:02).
  8. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:24:16).
  9. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:26:12).
  10. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:25:32).
  11. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:28:24).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Livestream, May 26, 2017 (32:59).
  13. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:30:50).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (24:18).
  15. Video, January 27, 2023 (9:54).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Video, January 27, 2023 (10:27).
  17. Video, January 27, 2023 (5:21).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Video, January 27, 2023 (6:41).
  19. 19.0 19.1 Video, January 27, 2023 (5:07).
  20. Video, January 27, 2023 (7:28).
  21. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (23:08).
  23. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  24. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:04:34).
  26. 26.0 26.1 steven-aggro.png
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:25:11).
  28. steven-taunt.png
  29. Livestream, October 16, 2017 (21:48).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:19:29).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Ashes of Creation Forums - No Damage Meter?
  32. 32.0 32.1 Livestream, May 10, 2017 (20:02).
  33. Interview, October 20, 2018 (6:29).
  34. Livestream, April 30, 2020 (1:28:19).
  35. Interview, May 11, 2018 (49:03).
  36. Livestream, May 10, 2017 (21:41).
  37. Livestream, November 22, 2019 (41:02).
  38. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:33:42).
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 Podcast, May 11, 2018 (49:20).
  40. steven-a1-leak-1.png
  41. shieldactiveblockA1.png
  42. 42.0 42.1 shields-quote.png
  43. dual-wield-shields.png
  44. Livestream, June 16, 2017 (40:06).
  45. Interview, October 17, 2020 (53:50).
  46. Newsletter, 2018-08-7
  47. Interview, July 29, 2020 (49:53).
  48. Group dynamics blog.