Let’s have a closer look at the leveling process, skills and perks.
First, the soft level cap is fixed at level 24. For every level until this cap, you’ll gain more hit points, skill points, and you’ll receive a new perk every 3 levels. You can still gain more levels after 24, but you’ll gain less bonuses: a few hit points, skill points and some special perks. The required amount of experience to gain further levels will also grow faster once the cap is reached. Experience is gained through different processes: participating to Zone Control, crafting, killing creatures, performing skills such as First Aid, Doctor, etc. All along your adventures, you should gain levels continously, whatever you’re doing.
Skills are divided into 3 categories. Every time you gain skill points, you can spend them the way you want into the skills of the first and second category. Skills of the third category are increased through regular training sessions. At the creation of your character, you can tag 3 skills from the first or second category, gaining a 30 points’ bonus and doubling any point spent on each. All skills are capped to 250.
1. Primary Combat Skills (Small guns, Big guns, Energy weapons, Melee weapons): granting mastery of most weapons of the game, any Wastelander will certainly have one of those skills tagged. Gun skills require 150 points to be mastered, which means that their owner will be able to shoot at the weapon’s effective range (which roughly coresponds to the “classic” range from the base game). Then, spending more skill points will allow the gunner to shoot efficiently at greater distances, up to 150% of the effective range with proper Perception. Also, at 150, 175, 200, 225 and 250 skill points, weapon perks will be automatically unlocked. Every weapon has different perks, such as bonus damage, critical modifiers and many other bonuses which increase their efficiency and further specialize them. Finally, your primary combat skill levels affect each other. The “Bleed Over” feature, as we call it, shares skillpoints between certain skills to allow every character to make use of every item in the game. However, while things like hitchance and cooldowns are affected by the bleed over, weapon perks are not, meaning that your tagged skill will always be more efficient than another skill. As for the actual numbers, all four primary weapon skill completely share their progress up to the 150% mark, meaning after just gaining a few levels, your character has the effective range withe very weapon. After that, only 50% of the skillpoints are shared. The same thing applies to the secondary skills, though at different rates.
2. Secondary Combat Skills (Unarmed, Throwing, Traps, Sneak, First Aid, Doctor, Leadership): these skills work well in combination with primary ones. Wastelanders may specialize in any of them and become powerful assets for their group. Secondary skills require items to increase their efficiency: first aid kits, doctor bags, stealthboys etc. At 125, 150, 175 and 200 skill points, those items receive perks that increase their power. Unarmed, Throwing, Traps, Sneak, First Aid and Doctor are being rebalanced and we’ll provide more detailed information in time. Leadership is a brand new skill, also in development, which will allow players to share the vision of their character with a leader through the use of radios.
3. Non-combat Skills (Barter, Science, Repair, Lockpick, Scavenging, Ourtdoorsman): those skills are increased through training sessions that you can regularly get at your faction’s headquarters. Bonuses can also be granted by carrying dedicated items, such as maps, repair books, lock pick sets etc. Any character can eventually reach good levels in every non-combat skill at some point and take profit out of them as well as he can. Special perks improving those skills can be unlocked by performing certain actions. More details about the mechanics related to these skills will come later.
Perks are bonuses you gain every 3 levels. They help orientating your character profile to fit better to your game style. Perks provide various combat advantages, offensive and defensive, to your secondary skills and the only requirement to get them is a defined character’s level. It will be only up to you to choose the ones you prefer.
Traits are also present, but nothing precise yet about their effects.
These changes have been decided to allow you to play different ways with the same character, without being totally useless at any other thing that your main weapon / skill. Also, our goal is to reduce the gap between a low and high level character. Hopefully, many builds and orientations will be efficient and you’ll have fun improving your unique character over time. You’ll also be able to defend yourself quite well, even at low level.
Next time we’ll have a look at Ashes of Phoenix’ arsenal. Stay tuned!