Weapon skills

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Alpha-2 work-in-progress Greatsword weapon skill tree.[1]

The intent here is to give you choices. Either I want to extend and improve my combo, or I want just passive benefits that increase my attack speed or crit chance.[2]Brian Ferguson

Weapon skills grant passive skills and proc effects and other status conditions, rather than usable skills on a player's action bar.[3] The more skill points that are allocated to the weapon tree, the greater a player's weapon familiarity with that specific weapon type.[4] 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.[5][6][7][3][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] This synergy also applies to active skills from other characters.[6][19]

Weapon skill trees are skill trees that you can unlock and invest points into as you continue to develop your experience with certain weapon types, certain weapon groups, like a dagger; and when you're doing your basic combo attack with those weapons, which is universal for all classes- anybody can use any type of weapon because stats can be changed on these weapon types through crafting and through drops- there will be certain proc effects that live on the weapon skill tree as you advance in them; and those proc effect effects will be able to interact with your archetype skills because they will have promotion type effects that occur when they synergize with one another.[5]Steven Sharif
Our approach is not going to be providing skills through weapons. It's going to be providing skills through classes.[8]Steven Sharif
Q: With weapon leveling, does it mean you will level per weapon type or will it be per weapon; and if I get a better wand, for example, will I still have to level that up again?
A: It's weapon type. So if you start advancing within the wand class of weapons, you will persist that progression across all wands that you acquire.[4]
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.[15]Steven Sharif

Weapon skill trees

Weapon skill trees unlock passive skills, proc effects, and status conditions based on a player's experience with each weapon type.[5][6][7][3][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] These do not unlock skills that are usable on a player's action bar.[3]

List of weapon skill trees

Weapon combo system

Alpha-2 greatsword weapon combo animation.[25]

Whenever you get stab hits on the third and the fourth hit, those are actually procs. So, if you connect with the second hit of that proc hit you'll receive the additional effects, but you actually have to connect with a monster or player to receive the effect; and I think the proc rate is at a static 25 percent right now. We're looking at other ways to scale that. Maybe it scales with a stat, or maybe it scales with additional nodes, but right now it's kind of low.[26]Brian Ferguson

A weapon combo system (also referred to as Weapon use combo, Weapon attack combo, Weapon combo, and Weapon use ability) is utilized instead of a traditional auto-attack ability in Ashes of Creation.[25][27][28][10][16][29][30]

Let's say for example you're using a two-handed warhammer or something and you have a number of weapon combos that play animation style based on how many combos deep you go into an attack with that warhammer. So the first is going to be like a forward swing. Second is going to be a back swing. The third is going to be swing down and the fourth is going to be some twirl that you do; and that's what we call the combo animation montage.[12]Steven Sharif
  • The number of steps and passive effects that trigger during weapon combos can be customized in the weapon skill tree.[31][32]
We wanted to have a combo length progression available to players so that certain builds could have longer weapon combos and other builds can have shorter weapon combos with more passive effects.; and this has been the result of our exploration. So, when you start out you've got a pretty quick four-hit combo, but whenever you unlock the additional hits you get the fifth and sixth hits, which are at approximately 50% to the overall combo length. But we found that that gave a pretty satisfying floor and ceiling to how long the combo can be.[31]Brian Ferguson
Depending on what your class skill choice has been those are going to have synergy effects with the weapon skill tree. So my skill called spin-to-win might do 30 additional damage on a staggered target. So I see when my proc occurs with the stagger effect on my first swing, like for me as a player I might be only interested in landing that first swing, so every now and then I'm gonna swing once and then I'm gonna use a skill and then I'm gonna come back and swing again because that'll play my first swing montage, because it's been interrupted. So I won't move to the second one because I'm really just wanna hit that stagger effect. So that's going to be how my rotation lines up. However I might have some skill that on a stun target it might be an immediate cast and it's like some power you push or power hit; and that does- it knocks back a stun target. So if the target's stunned when this skill plays, it has an added effect of knock down and now they're gonna get knocked down for an additional two seconds. Now I might spec into that and as a result I want to finish through: swing, swing, and then knock down. So I get my chance at stunning that target with that weapon skill.[12]Steven Sharif
You may have items or set bonuses that change at what level those proc occurs. So I may have a full set of battle armor that changes all third hit combo procs to second hit requirements and now I have a chance not only on my second hit to land that tapering slow but I also have a chance to land my one second stun proc because I have the full set that changes my weapon progression. So that's the way itemization works with your weapon skill tree, is you can enhance when those weapon skill trees become available in your combat montage and that can be a relevant factor in how your skill rotations come to play; and mixes with your weapon attacks.
  • Weapon skill choices and rotations will vary based on whether the player is more focused on PvP or PvE.[12]
Right now some people might just say, "I don't care at all about my weapon attacks. I'm not going to invest a lot of points into that. And if I do, it's going to be primarily PvE focused where I'm more comfortable using just swinging my weapon, and I may not use them as much in PvP. I'm just going to be focused on skill rotations." That's okay, but the reason for those skill montages- back to your question- is they have a very relevant role in when certain procs come online from a weapons skill tree perspective.[12]Steven Sharif
  • Using a skill/ability other than a basic attack will in general reset the combo.[20]
    • The developers are considering specific abilities that might be able to be used without resetting the combo system.[20]
It acts similar in the sense of the core loop of what an auto attack is so to speak; where typically your other skills have a cooldown period, they have a rotation or whatever: Our combo system is a repeatable skill effect that you can continually attack with but it's a little bit more involved than what a traditional auto attack is; and it has components from a from an advancement standpoint when it comes to the types of procs that your weapon can have during that combo system... It's not going to have the quick time event that you guys saw early on in PAX and gave great feedback on, but it is going to have development with regards to the power of the weapon the type of weapon you're using, the additional proc effects that you can skill into: Those types of things are going to make it a little bit more complex of a system capture.[16]Steven Sharif
Q: How will weapon combos work when the weapon doesn't necessarily fit the archetype? For instance, if I'm a Mage and I want to use a bow, how will that work?
A: We're letting players make choices that may not mix as well as other choices; and that's okay. It presents some interesting horizontal options to the player, but at the same time there is going to be something for each archetype or class that's present within each of the weapon skill trees.[33]Steven Sharif

Basic attacks

Alpha-2 Mage demonstrating a Frostbolt, Lightning Strike, and Wand weapon attack combo.[28]

This is a single Target projectile attack that applies two stacks of Chilled to the enemy; and then after that hit him with a few wand attacks. Now you'll see that you've gotten a Frozen status effect on him and then he timed that really well there... in that very last frame you'll see that he hit him with a lightning effect... So that's a good way to get your burst damage if you're rotating your spells and your elements the correct way.[28]Keenan Reimer

Basic attacks are triggered for the equipped primary weapon by pressing Q or left-clicking the mouse (these buttons can be re-bound by the player).[34][35][12]

  • Different weapon types have different basic attacks.[38][39]
  • Weapons with projectile attacks are capable of blind firing without having a target.[40]
    • If the player is in action camera mode and their reticle is over a target, they will be able to soft lock onto that target, causing projectiles to home to targets who are within the correct range/angle.[40]
When you have your weapon and you utilize a basic attack, you can blind fire that weapon, if it has a projectile associated with it, without having to have a target. In addition, if your reticle in action camera mode is over a target, you will have a soft target lock and projectiles will home to that target if within the right angle of direction.[40]Steven Sharif
Basic attack Icon Weapon Description
Greatsword basic attack Greatsword Auto Attack Icon.png Greatsword
Longbow basic attack Bow basic attack.png Longbow A slower, powerful, longer range basic ranged attack. Tapping the basic attack button will shoot normally. Holding the basic attack button will charge the shot (and root the player) to cause added damage.[42][38][39]
Shortbow basic attack Copper Shortbow Icon.png Shortbow A fast, low power, short range basic ranged attack. Holding down the basic attack button will repeatedly fire.[38][39]
Staff basic attack StaffBasicAttackIcon.png Staff
Wand basic attack WandBasicAttackIcon.png Wand


Synergies exist between class skills, weapon skills, passive skills, proc effects, and status conditions.[43][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] These synergies also apply to active skills from other characters.[43][43][6][19]

Different abilities put status effects on creatures and then you can exploit those. Not only you can exploit that, anybody who's fighting with you can exploit them.[43]Margaret Krohn
Q: How much do you intend for those sort of synergy things to be done within one class, one character's kit, versus how much do you intend for them to be working with the other characters, the other archetypes and specializations to promote their things, or to also make sure you don't step on their feet and accidentally promote something they're trying to maximize?
A: When we talk about status conditions or keyword conditions and the promotion of those effects, there is going to be the bread and butter that each class kid has access to; and when they're creating the type of rotation with their ability system, they're going to want to emphasize those interactions that amplify or promote a particular type of status condition. So they'll have within the kit to their own interactions that they'll be able to leverage. But then in addition to that, they're going to have keyword status effects that help to either promote other classes' keyword status effects, or are the executed promotions of other classes initial status conditions. And when you think about the intent of the design: the intent of the design is that players are servicing themselves from a solo perspective when they want to go out and solo grind and solo experience and fulfill the quests. But when they come together to form a party to encounter group content, or a raid to encounter raid content: that the interconnectivity between those classes synergizes with these keyword promotions and/or effects; and there's a way to execute on that, that is successful and is effective, or a way that's not. And that's the skill ceiling/skill cap that requires interaction and cooperation and synchronization between, because there are limited time windows in which those keywords can get emphasized or executed upon when utilizing the ability.[6]Steven Sharif
When you think about it, it's very much a musical endeavor. When you think about a symphony or a concert, those instruments working with eachother to formulate this highly effective and very visceral experience of this music chain. When you accomplish that in combat, it's going to be noticeable; and that's the desire, is let's reward- let's dopamine hit when players are effective in their skill when executing on these ideas.[44]Steven Sharif


See also


  1. Video, March 29, 2024 (47:43).
  2. Video, December 19, 2023 (7:26).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Livestream, October 14, 2022 (18:34).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Livestream, April 30, 2024 (50:27).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Livestream, January 31, 2024 (5:00).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:14:09).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Livestream, December 2, 2022 (56:09).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:12:38).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (53:15).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (43:45).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Video, September 30, 2022 (24:49).
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (47:57).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Interview, February 7, 2021 (49:18).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Interview, July 19, 2020 (53:59).
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Interview, July 18, 2020 (1:07:51).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 Livestream, January 30, 2020 (1:28:40).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (1:11:19).
  19. 19.0 19.1 Interview, July 29, 2020 (55:44).
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:10:21).
  21. 21.0 21.1 Livestream, May 31, 2023 (1:12:58).
  22. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (1:13:23).
  23. 23.0 23.1 Livestream, April 30, 2024 (49:43).
  24. Livestream, September 29, 2023 (1:15:47).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Video, March 29, 2024 (50:16).
  26. Video, March 29, 2024 (57:52).
  27. Video, December 19, 2023 (10:08).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Video, April 28, 2023 (15:35).
  29. Livestream, January 18, 2018 (22:46).
  30. steven-auto-attack-definition.png
  31. 31.0 31.1 Video, December 19, 2023 (8:37).
  32. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:19:17).
  33. 33.0 33.1 Livestream, April 30, 2024 (45:31).
  34. 34.0 34.1 Livestream, September 30, 2022 (49:16).
  35. 35.0 35.1 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (40:50).
  36. 36.0 36.1 Livestream, March 29, 2024 (1:55:14).
  37. Interview, May 11, 2018 (16:32).
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Video, September 30, 2022 (19:32).
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Video, September 30, 2022 (10:44).
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Livestream, April 28, 2023 (55:55).
  41. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (46:17).
  42. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (26:42).
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3 Livestream, April 30, 2024 (48:51).
  44. Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:16:45).